Agudath Israel Applauds Introduction of Educational Choice for Children Act

Agudath Israel of America is applauding Senator Bill Cassidy (R- LA) and Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) for leading the effort in the 118th Congress to increase school choice across the country. The Educational Choice for Children Act  (S.120/H.R. 531) the legislators unveiled last week will provide ten billion dollars’ worth of tax credits to individual and corporate taxpayers to support educational opportunities and services in all fifty states. Providing dollar-for-dollar tax credits will encourage both businesses and individuals to invest in education. 

Currently, twenty-two states have scholarship tax credit programs which have helped hundreds of thousands of students attend the school of their choice, public or private. Jewish day school families, among many others, have been beneficiaries of such programs. A federal tax credit would enhance existing programs and open up more educational opportunities in states where no program exists currently. 

The proposed bill, which Agudath Israel helped craft with the sponsors, would allow a dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit up to ten percent of an individual taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI) or $5,000 (whichever is higher) and five percent of a corporation’s taxable income for contributions made to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). The SGO would then provide scholarships to children of eligible families for educational expenses, which include tuition at private schools. 

The legislation introduced yesterday enjoys the co-sponsorship of fourteen members of the Senate and thirty members of the House, numbers that are expected to increase further with growing momentum. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has shown strong support for school choice, making it part of his Commitment to America plan. 

Over the years, Agudath Israel has strongly advocated for school choice on the federal level. Through its network of regional offices, it has also been at the forefront of promoting similar legislation in state capitals.   

Agudath Israel is calling on its members, and all those who support school choice, to contact their senators and representatives by email or phone using this link and encourage them to cosponsor this legislation. The organization is also urging its members to convey this message when their elected officials return home to work in their district offices and meet constituents

Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President for Government Affairs and Washington Director commended Senator Cassidy and Representative Smith, and called for the proposed bill’s favorable consideration. “We encourage lawmakers, Republican and Democratic, to put a bipartisan stamp on the common-sense policy that is at the heart of this bill: assisting parents to access the learning environment and the educational benefits that are best suited for their children, and that will enhance educational achievement for all of America’s students.” 

“Agudath Israel has played a key role in advancing school choice across the nation, yet half of the states in this country have not yet enacted any such program,” noted Rabbi A.D. Motzen, Agudath Israel’s National Director of Government Affairs “Offering a federal incentive and allowing scholarships to be used for a broad range of educational expenses is exactly what is needed to allow families, regardless in which state they reside, to benefit from this major investment in education.” 

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