President Trump signed an Executive Order on Monday aimed at expanding school choice options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This order will allow states to repurpose money through Health and Human Services block grants to cover tuition and fees for:
- Private or parochial school;
- Homeschool, microschool, or learning-pod costs;
- Special education and related services, including therapies; or
- Tutoring or remedial education.
President Trump further said in his order,
“Unfortunately, more than 50 percent of all public-school students in the United States began school remotely this fall. These children, including those with special needs, are being underserved due to the public education system’s failure to provide in-person learning options.”
According to the Washington Times, Community Service Block Grants totaled nearly $1.7 billion in fiscal 2020. While the Executive Order does not specify how much of that money will be made available for the scholarships or how much each family might receive, it is a step in empowering minority and low-income parents on where and how their children receive an education.
It also loosens the stranglehold of the American Federation of Teachers and other Teacher’s Unions, who are the driving force behind the continued in-person closures and distance learning. My colleague Alex Parker reported that parents are withdrawing their children from public education in states like New York, Wisconsin and Los Angeles because they are dissatisfied with the forced distance education and its effect on their children.
The block grant approach can ensure that this choice is expanded to those who previously could not have considered it because of lack of resources or financial means.
We will see if this Executive Order will be reversed in a Biden-Harris administration.