Are Education Freedom Scholarships a Win for Homeschoolers?

With a goal of ensuring that all students have an option to choose their desired educational setting, the Education Freedom Scholarships were officially proposed in late February.

Hailed as the Trump Administration’s key proposal to expand and improve education options, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, as well as Texas senator Ted Cruz and Alabama representative Bradley Byrne, announced the educational plan.

“I believe every student in America deserves the opportunity to pursue the education that best meets his or her needs,” DeVos said in a press release from the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the official website for the Education Freedom Scholarships, approximately $5 billion in annual federal tax credit will be awarded through voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs. Should states choose to adopt the program, it could help pay for homeschooling expenses.

"The key element of the proposal is freedom for all involved," DeVos said. "Students, families, teachers, schools, states—all can participate, if they choose, and do so in the ways that work best for them. The major shift is that a student's needs and preferences, not their address or family income, will determine the type and quality of education they can pursue."

While school choice proponents applaud the proposal, critics of the scholarships argue that the program inevitably takes funds away from public schools.

“School board officials support choice and employ a lot of creative ideas to provide it,” Thomas Gentzel of the National School Boards Association told NPR, “but sending tax dollars to schools that lack local supervision is not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.”

What do you think? Are the proposed Education Freedom Scholarships a good option for homeschoolers?

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