AFC Applauds President, Vice President, and Secretary of Education’s Commitment to School Choice

Administration reiterates commitment to expand school choice across America

Today, the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, released the following statement after today’s event at the White House with students from the Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP):

Statement from John Schilling, Chief Operating Officer at the American Federation for Children:

“On behalf of parents and children in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) and those families all across our nation who seek the same educational opportunity, we thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary DeVos for their commitment to see every parent empowered to choose the best educational environment for their child. Working with congressional supporters, the Administration fought to include reauthorization of the OSP in the FY 2017 budget bill. AFC looks forward to continued work with the Administration and Congress to facilitate an expansion of school choice so that more children across the country can access a school of their parents’ choice, a school that best fits their individual needs. We believe an education tax credit that would inspire charitable giving to state non-profits who provide scholarships to eligible children is the best way to immediately expand opportunity for children in need of more and better educational options. Parents across the country are making their voices heard and are grateful to the Administration for making school choice a priority issue.”

Background on the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program:

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is now in its 13th year serving the city’s most disadvantaged students. Nearly 6,600 children from low-income District families have been awarded scholarships since the program began in 2004-2005. More than 19,800 have applied for scholarships, and currently 1,244 students are enrolled. Parents strongly support the program. The average income for participating families is less than $22,000 per year and 97 percent of participating children are minority. Recent data compiled by the program administrator shows a 2015-2016 graduation rate of 98 percent. 86 percent of these students were accepted into a 2-or-4 year college with 5 percent entering the military or technical school.

Background on an Education Tax Credit:

AFC believes a federal tax credit to inspire charitable giving by corporations and individuals to state non-profits who provide scholarships for eligible children to attend a school of their parents’ choice would have the greatest impact for children in need. Currently, there are publicly-supported tax credit programs in 17 states helping more than 250,000 children, mostly minority and low-income families. A well-designed federal tax credit would help create hope and opportunity for equally deserving children in every state. These programs are proven successes that provide access to the best educational environment and improved educational outcomes for participating children.

Momentum for School Choice Across the Country:

Momentum for expanding parental choice – charters, private choice, virtual and blended learning – in America has never been stronger. In January, AFC released its third annual National School Choice Poll of likely voters conducted by the Democratic polling firm Beck Research. Among the key findings:

  • Voters want educational options – 68% support the concept of school choice
  • School choice support is bipartisan – Republicans (84%), Democrats (55%) and Independents (67%)
  • School choice supporters are diverse – Latinos (75%), African Americans (72%) and Millennials (75%)
  • Voters want congressional action – 72% of voters support a federal tax credit scholarship