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house Bill H.R. 554

Should Low-Income Students get Federal Education Funding, Even if They're in a Private School?

Argument in favor

Families know better than the government what education option is best for their child. These funds help low-income students, and that shouldn’t change just because they’re attending a private school.

DonaldTrump's Opinion
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11/05/2015
"Who’s better off? The kids who use vouchers to go to the school of their choice, or the ones who choose to stay in public school? All of them. That’s the way it works in a competitive system." [ontheissues.org]
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EricRevell's Opinion
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04/30/2015
Allowing low-income students to choose to attend a different school with the federal funding following them gives them a greater opportunity for a quality education.
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Cary's Opinion
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05/02/2015
Why wouldn't we help low income students attending a private school? Because their parents care about their education? I will pitch in!
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Argument opposed

Federal funding should be focused on the students who need it in public schools — how else will the nation's school system be re-built? Not to mention, the added benefits this bill gives to home-schooling are not focused on low-income families.

Mike's Opinion
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04/26/2015
Fix public schools first. Private schools are a business.
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Cheryl's Opinion
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04/26/2015
This sounds like another way the Republicans are trying to privatize our public school education. If they do that there will never be a way for poor people to better themselves.
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Rondavis5210's Opinion
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04/27/2015
Public education is the backbone of this country. Any federal funds should be used to support the backbone and not undermine its potential.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJanuary 27th, 2015

What is House Bill H.R. 554?

In what is being called a complete "overhaul the Bush-era No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law," this bill would authorize states to fund their local education agencies based on the number of eligible children enrolled in public schools and state-accredited private schools in each jurisdiction. Under current law, states allocate funds based on the number of eligible students in public schools/agencies

The change effectively allows federal funds to follow low-income students to any school they attend throughout their academic careers , public or private

This bill would also allow families that homeschool children to pay the expenses of that education through Coverdell education savings accounts. The existing limit on contributions to Coverdell savings accounts would be removed — but the accounts would also be set up with safeguards to prevent contributions that exceed the "qualified educational expenses" that are actually needed to homeschool children. 

Current law caps contributions to Coverdell education savings accounts at $2,000 per year. Tax-exempt qualified tuition programs — like 529 tuition programs — could be used to pay for qualified pre-kindergarten, elementary, and secondary education expenses.

Impact

Low-income students and their families, people with Coverdell educational savings accounts or tax-exempt qualified tuition programs like 529 plans, local education agencies, and state education agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 554

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), allowing the portability of federal funding for low-income students would free up $14.5 billion in existing annual federal education funding to follow students to the public or private school of their choice.

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who has sponsored this bill’s companion in the Senate, noted:  “We should do everything in our power to remove the obstacles preventing America’s parents from choosing the best education options for their children.”

His colleague, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), called for the approval of this legislation, saying that:

“Congress must seize this opportunity to eliminate burdensome federal mandates and ineffective programs to restore decision making back to parents and students.”

The Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), struck a different note, saying:

“I remain concerned that the Every Child Achieves Act lacks necessary protections to ensure states and school districts meet the needs of all students.”

nearly identical version of this bill was introduced in September 2014, but it failed to progress out of committee before the 113th Congress ended.


Media:


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user kenycoleartist)

AKA

Enhancing Educational Opportunities for all Students Act

Official Title

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to encourage the use of 529 plans and Coverdell education savings accounts, and for other purposes.

    "Who’s better off? The kids who use vouchers to go to the school of their choice, or the ones who choose to stay in public school? All of them. That’s the way it works in a competitive system." [ontheissues.org]
    Like (51)
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    Fix public schools first. Private schools are a business.
    Like (45)
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    This sounds like another way the Republicans are trying to privatize our public school education. If they do that there will never be a way for poor people to better themselves.
    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
    Public education is the backbone of this country. Any federal funds should be used to support the backbone and not undermine its potential.
    Like (21)
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    No, if you wish to attend private school, and want to separate from already free public schools you need to pay for it yourself. The government already offers education for free, through taxes, why should taxes be allotted for someone to separate themselves..... Like...
    Like (11)
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    Allowing low-income students to choose to attend a different school with the federal funding following them gives them a greater opportunity for a quality education.
    Like (11)
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    Education is being gutted, now there giving public money to private institutions, just plain wrong
    Like (10)
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    Why wouldn't we help low income students attending a private school? Because their parents care about their education? I will pitch in!
    Like (10)
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    I support home-schooling unconditionally and favor giving homeschooling families a break. I support this bill.
    Like (7)
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    ALL low-income students deserve a good education, not just those in public school. By allowing States to count students in public AND private schools for federal funding, we can help more needy students get a good start and a good education.
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    If you have a low income, how can you afford private school anyways? Besides, not a dime of taxpayer money should go to any school the espouses religion, which many private schools do. That is a straight up challenge to the separation of church and state. Our public schools need all the help the can get
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    Instead of this, we should adopt a complete overhaul of the educational system. School vouchers, make the public schools compete with private schools, merit-based pay and raises, etc.
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    Sure. They just shouldn't get MORE funding than a low income student in a public school would get.
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    Public funding should support public schools.
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    Even though they are private school students, they may be there with scholarship.
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    It is nonsensical to provide taxpayer funded vouchers for something an individual will not use. If you go to private school, you don't need public school funding.
    Like (3)
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    People should have the freedom to choose any school they feel is best for them.
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    A little competition in the education industry might actually improve it.
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    While funding is important for schools and the amount of money spent on children compared with the elderly is unfortunately extremely large (for many reasons). Currently the education system in America revolves around standardized tests - for both ranking of students and their teachers. This creates an incentive for teachers to essentially teach children how to take tests and teach them the answers to the questions on the test. Rather than focusing on the questions in the standardized tests (along with the question format) teachers should be teaching children how to think critically and approach problems with the objective of reaching an answer (as done in many other countries with higher ranked education programs). This would better arm students with the ability to answer questions/problems outside of school and would help them take the standardized tests as well....
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    Student debt is crippling this generation. Education is the IS a must for the future of our country.
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