In spring 2019, Betsy DeVos proposed the
Education Freedom Scholarships, a major school choice plan that would provide 5
billion in dollar-for-dollar federal tax credits for contributions to state
approved scholarship granting organizations. Critics pounced, and even
some on the right are skeptical about federal involvement in private schools.
But this proposal tries to walk a tightrope, balancing valid desires to
avoid federal overreach while still supporting school choice. First, this
approach makes states take charge of their own programs.
It leaves Treasury to oversee the federal tax credit and avoids creating a
new program to be run by the Department of Education. Second, it can help with the
main challenge facing most state school choice programs and tax credit
scholarships in particular: there are low funding levels. This federal tax credit
could safely encourage another source of funds — private donations — to make
scholarships of a reasonable size, large enough to adequately help the mostly
low-income families they serve. Balancing these two interests is a tricky path,
but this proposal could be a good first step. Do you think the Education Freedom
Scholarships are a legitimate way to promote school choice? Let us know in our
poll. Also, let us know what other topics you’d like our scholars to cover in 60
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