(CNS News) -- Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in the Senate and Chip Roy (R-Texas) in the House have introduced companion legislation that would amend existing law to allow federal education funds (K-12) to follow the student to the school of his choice, instead of going to state administrators to re-distribute the funds to public school districts.
Whether the child is going to an actual classroom in a public or private school, or learning remotely online, the education funds -- an equal amount for every child in the country -- will follow him or her, providing the students and the parents with much-needed flexibility.
Sen. Paul's legislation is entitled the Support Children Having Open Opportuities for Learning (SCHOOL) Act.
“The SCHOOL Act eases one of this pandemic’s most crushing burdens, returning more of families’ own money to them so they have greater flexibility to provide the best possible education for their kids and cover the costs that come with it," said Sen. Paul in a statement. "I am proud to be joined across the Capitol in this effort by Representative Roy as momentum builds for this much-needed legislation."
Congressman Roy said, “As our nation battles the coronavirus, we should not force parents into the untenable position of having to balance providing for their families while educating their children. The SCHOOL Act will ensure parents are able to make the best decision to fit the educational needs of their children."
A statement from Sen. Paul's office explained, "While federal education dollars are currently sent to states and then distributed amongst public school districts, Dr. Paul’s SCHOOL Act would allow federal funds for K-12 education to follow the eligible child, learning in person or remotely, to the school of their choice.
"Whether in public school, private school, or homeschool, the funds could be used for a wide range of educational needs, including tuition, curriculum materials, technology, support for special education, or classes outside the home.
"As families face the reality of hybrid learning or a completely virtual school year, students, especially those with disabilities, need a choice in education and the tools to succeed no matter where they are learning."
The School Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The Act would allow education funds from those laws to follow a child to a public school, private school, or homeschool of the family's choice.
As explained by Sen. Paul's office, the changes would ensure that "each child would receive the same amount of funding, regardless of where the child is enrolled," and it would protect "non-public education providers from federal and state control."
The funds could be used for curriculum materials, tech tools (e.g., laptop, Internet), tutoring, extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, music instruction), private school tuition and special education.