WASHINGTON - Currently in Washington D.C., school choice is available in two forms. Students of any economic background can choose to attend a public charter school or there is the DC Opportunity Scholarship program, a federally funded school choice program for low-income students to attend private schools.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has introduced the Educational Freedom Account Act, a new school choice program for families in the District. The program is different because it would be funded by local tax dollars and would be available to every public or charter school student.
Parents would then have access to an education savings account with money in it similar to the amount the District would have spent on that student. The money could then be used on private education as well as other educational needs.
In a press release, the presidential candidate said, “School Choice continues to be the civil rights issue of our era. Each and every child has the right to access a quality education.”
FOX 5 spoke with Matt Frendewey of the American Federation for Children, a non-partisan organization that lobbies for school choice programs nationwide. His organization was heavily involved with the passage of the DC Opportunity Act. While he appreciates any effort to create access to school choice, which Sen. Cruz’s bill does do, his goal right now is to see the DC Opportunity Act continue in the District.
“At the end of the day, our focus is trying to break down the barriers that exist to help a family get their child into a school of their choice,” said Frendewey. “Our focus, really in D.C., is to reauthorize the existing program.”
We reached out to the Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office for comment. Her spokesperson, Michael Czin, said, “We thought Senator Cruz was running for President, not a seat on the DC Council.”
And in case you were wondering about how Americans feel about school choice, a recent poll conducted by Beck Research found that 70 percent of Americans support school choice and 64 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who favors expanding school choice.