Rubio: "This is very simple. This has to do with giving parents more choices."
Feb 28 2013
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio recently introduced the Educational Opportunities Act to help families pay for more school options through a new tax credit. In today’s installment of Marco’s Constituent Mailbox video series, Rubio responds to two letters regarding this legislation and discusses the importance of empowering parents through school choice. Earlier this month, the Educational Opportunities Act was announced, the first of several bills Rubio will introduce this Congress as part of an effort to help build a 21st century middle class through opportunity.
In his response to letters questioning the merits of school choice policy, Rubio explained, “This is very simple. This has to do with giving parents more choices. So the fundamental question is who should be the number one arbiter, who should be in charge of children’s education first and foremost: a school teacher, a public school administrator, a politician or a parent? And my answer is a parent. Parents first and foremost should have as many options available to them as possible to where they put their kids in school.”
To watch the video, click here.
BACKGROUND: EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES ACT IN THE NEWS:
Miami Herald: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio immediately followed his rebuttal to the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night by releasing a “school-choice” bill to allow taxpayers to subsidize private-school education for poor kids. By putting legislation where his mouth is, Rubio wanted to reinforce the theme of his speech — that conservative policy is good for the poor and working class.
Washington Times: Following through on his promise to promote school choice, Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a measure Wednesday that would create tax incentives aimed at helping students cover the costs of private school, including charter schools.
Mr. Rubio, the Florida Republican who delivered the official Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, said his “Educational Opportunities Act” would open up tax breaks for individuals and corporations that send charitable contributions to scholarship-granting organizations, which provide money to eligible students who attend private elementary and secondary schools.
Orlando Sentinel: Similar to a program Florida already has in place, that fund would help poor students pay for private school tuition and other expenses.
“The more choices parents have, the better educated children will be,” he said.
Can’t say I disagree with that. The reality in this country is that families of means already have school choice for their children. They can afford to pay for private school or move into a school district with a high-performing public school.
Poor families don’t have those options. They’re stuck with their neighborhood school no matter how good or bad it is.
That doesn’t mean we abandon public schools in poor neighborhoods. They should be invested in. But those changes don’t happen overnight and, while we’re waiting, students and parents shouldn’t be limited in their choices simply because they can’t write a big check.
WPLG ABC 10 Miami:
Rubio: “Well this is a corporate scholarship program. What it does, and it’s similar to what we have in Florida, is it allows corporations, in lieu of paying federal tax, in this case, to contribute it to an eligible scholarship giving organization that then helps needy families send their kids to the school of their choice.
“Unfortunately in America, the only people that do not choose where their kid goes to school, are working class and poor families. Even middle-class families, if they’re willing to give something else up in their budget, might be able to afford to send their kids to the school of their choice. Poor families don’t have that option and that’s wrong.
“So this would allow companies to do is in lieu of paying the federal corporate tax, up to $100,000, they could donate to an eligible scholarship granting organization that will in turn give scholarships to needy families to send their kids to the school of their choice…”
Putney: “And that would include religious schools as well as private schools?”
Rubio: “Sure. That’s up to the parents where they want to send their kids.”
Newsmax: Rubio is introducing education legislation today, including a school voucher program. He tells Newsmax: “I’m proud of that. In Florida we have a corporate scholarship program where corporations, in lieu of paying state corporate tax, can make a contribution to a qualified scholarship organization that helps parents send their kids to the school of their choice. We’re just expanding that to the federal level.
“We’re creating a federal corporate tax credit where in lieu of paying corporate taxes, a corporation can give up to $100,000 a year to a qualified scholarship organization so that organization can in turn help needy students and their parents pick a school of their choice and pay for the cost of attending that school.”