Lee, Messer introduce bill to give parents more control over K-12 education decisions

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mike Lee and Congressman Luke Messer of Indiana introduced legislation Thursday to make a quality K-12 education more accessible and affordable to low-income parents and students. The Enhancing Educational Opportunities for All Act significantly empowers parents by giving them greater control over choosing a school that’s best for their child, as well as more flexibility in planning and saving for education-related expenses.

There is no group that cares more about the future of this country than America’s moms and dads,” Lee said. “They have the awesome responsibility of raising the next generation and making sure our kids are ready to meet the challenges to come.  That’s exactly why they deserve more control over their children’s education than current federal policy allows.  We should do everything in our power to remove the obstacles preventing America’s parents from choosing the best education options for their children.”

“For our students to compete in the 21st Century global economy, they need to have access to a high-quality education,” Messer said. “Right now, that’s not a reality for too many kids.  The Enhancing Educational Opportunities for all Students Act will not only help make access to a great education possible for more students, but also more affordable for families.”

The Enhancing Educational Opportunities for All Act has three primary components aimed at making sure that educational decision-making authority resides in the home with parents and guardians, not with federal bureaucrats in Washington.

  • The first provision provides for full Title I portability which would allow Title I funds to follow low-income students to any public or private school of their choice.
  • The second provision takes the much-needed step of removing contribution limitations on Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. Coverdell Accounts are the lone tax break available to parents for kindergarten through twelfth grade expenses.
  • The final provision expands “529” Savings Accounts to K-12 elementary and secondary education expenses, providing a second option available to families to pay for K-12 educational expenses.

All students should have access to a high quality education. This legislation will empower parents to invest more in heir child’s education and allow parents to choose what school best meets their child’s needs,” Lee added.

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  • laytonian February 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Here come VOUCHERS again, that Utah voters have rejected multiple times.

    Check the SAGE scores of those charter schools and you’ll find they underperform the traditional public schools.

    • mesaman February 1, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      Give me more information. Which charter schools compared to which public schools, which years, which levels, and which subjects. I don’t trust your rhetoric, sorry.

      • Free Parkimg February 2, 2015 at 11:53 am

        Why? You couldn’t figure it out anyway

  • anybody home February 1, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I’m with you, Laytonian, but too many Mormon parents think they know better about everything than anybody. And, of course, that their kids are better than everybody else’s. What a sad state (pun intended)..

    • ladybugavenger February 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      LOL. Right

    • BIG GUY February 1, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      So you believe the nanny state knows better than parents? Perhaps you think we should take kids away from parents and their bad influences on children and put them all in government-run institutions. If that’s too much even for you, where would you stop on the path of “the government knows what good for kids” and for everybody else for that matter?

      I am not a libertarian fanatic; I believe government plays a vital role in providing for the common good. For example, I believe all children should be vaccinated for the benefit of the rest of society. But it’s people like you that cater to the teachers unions that are keeping minority kids in failing public schools in New York City and elsewhere. Is that what’s best for the kids there? Minority parents are trying desperately to get their children into far-superior charter schools, but Mayor DeBlasio know best.

      Again I ask, where would you draw the line on government intervention in parents’ decisions for their children?

      • anybody home February 1, 2015 at 9:09 pm

        No Mr. Big, I don’t think the nanny state knows better. Please don’t put words in my mouth. But I do think professional educators generally know better about educating children, just as I think doctors generally know better about health care about vaccinations. I’m not catering to teachers unions (where did you get that from what I wrote?). But I have been a teacher a university level and seen the products in freshmen classes of kids who did not get a quality education but were home schooled or in some cases charter schooled. Education is about more than book learning, and preparing students for higher education is about more than SAT scores.

        • BIG GUY February 2, 2015 at 5:08 am

          If “the nanny state doesn’t know better” but “too many Mormon parents think they know better about everything,” what was the purpose of your original comment other than to badmouth Mormon parents as a group? Was it your regular practice as a “university level” teacher to denigrate certain groups with whom you disagreed? It would be only too easy–but unfair–for me to generalize about all university teachers based on the well-publicized actions of some with whom I disagree.

          Good and bad examples can be found in any group, but to single out Mormon parents as you did betrays a narrow and illiberal mind.

          • anybody home February 2, 2015 at 9:25 am

            Try reading my comment again. Carefully. I didn’t single out Mormon parents as a group. But please remember that anything that happens in this state is going to happen to Mormons more than anybody. It’s the nature of Utah, the only state in the union linked so directly to a religion and the teachings of that religion.

        • wilbur February 2, 2015 at 1:46 pm

          Ah, the “Professional Educators. I assume you mean the ones who couldn’t hack Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Bio-Chemistry and the like in college, and more than likely graduated in the bottom 25% of their class. Those “professionals”.

          • Buyerconsumer February 2, 2015 at 9:48 pm

            How dare you make such a blanket statement!

  • sagemoon February 2, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Golly gee, I actually agree with Lee on something! How about that.

  • Allie February 2, 2015 at 10:35 am

    If students at certain schools are not receiving the quality education that other schools are providing, could it be the education staff? Our tax dollars for education should not be spent in the manner presented in this bill. Teachers should know their subject matter and how to present it. Parents have the responsibility to make sure their children are doing the level of work they are challenged to. If a student cannot read, don’t move to the next grade. Too bad if the student is embarrassed because of being held back, but everyone has to work to keep up. Our educational system has lost its basic foundation in favor of strong teacher unions, and children who are not held to a level of responsibility.

    • Buyerconsumer February 2, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      I am a teacher. I am a good one. I wish parents WOULD stand up and make noise when their children are not getting the education they deserve. Parents have much more power than they realize. There are teachers I work with that should not be teaching! Thank goodness the vast majority are very good and very dedicated. Parents should speak up! Go to administrators, the school board, or whatever it takes.

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