Marco Rubio: Time to expand private school options for low-income families

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a bill that would create a federal tax credit scholarship program for low-income students. Today he offers his thoughts about it in an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times. Here’s an excerpt:

Sen. Rubio

Sen. Rubio

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren in our country are not as fortunate as I was. These children are being failed by our nation’s broken public school system, and they and their parents deserve the freedom and flexibility of school choice. There is perhaps no greater symbol of failure in our education system and our society than the worried faces of parents sending their kids off to a failing school because they don’t have the liberty to choose a better, safer school.

While some students may be lucky enough to attend high-quality public charter schools in their areas, a private school education has become unattainable for the majority of low-income and middle-class families. It’s too difficult for parents in today’s economic environment to incur the financial burden of paying tuition at a private school, forcing parents to bypass better and safer education options.

Further, because of our nation’s fiscal crisis, private schools may not be able to distribute a high number of institutionally funded scholarships to children. The result is a large number of students and families yearning for the opportunity of gaining a better education at a high-performing private school that will adequately prepare them to compete in a 21st century global economy.

To ensure that more American children receive that opportunity, I have introduced the Educational Opportunities Act, to create a new federal tax credit for individuals and corporations to help families pay for expanded educational opportunities. Full op-ed here.

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