I am deeply concerned by the deterioration of our nation’s public school system. The poor quality of education that many of our children receive is an outrage which threatens to undermine our society. These problems can and must be solved. Through alternatives such as school vouchers, charter schools, on-line education, and home schooling, we can give parents and students a greater choice in education. A refundable tax credit, equal to the cost of educating a child in a public school, should be given to parents who choose alternatives that otherwise cost nothing to the public school system. This would serve to increase the competition facing public schools and force them to improve. Attempts by unions to limit education choices through unfair regulations cannot be tolerated.
I also believe that the federal government’s efforts to regulate our nation’s public education system, while well-meaning, can contribute to the problem. Our great country is too large and too diverse for a one-size-fits-all approach to education. The role of the federal government must be very limited and federal funding should be distributed through block grants with few or no strings attached.
During the 112th Congress, I voted to restore the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides vouchers to low-income families so that their children can attend a private school of choice. The program’s restoration in April 2011 represented a significant win for proponents of school choice.
I also voted for the House-passed H.R. 2218 Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act. If enacted, this legislation would encourage states to develop and expand charter schools, streamline the federal Charter School Program, and incentivize charter schools to reach out to special populations, including at-risk students.
(Congressman Lamborn speaking with James Irwin Charter High School Students)
Cosponsor of H.R. 5340 the Local Education Authority Returns (LEARN) Act
If enacted, this legislation would allow states to "opt out" of receiving federal funding so that they can instead receive tax credit to be used for their federal taxes, meaning more money at the local level instead of Washington, D.C.
Cosponsor of H.R. 2117 the Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act
If enacted, this legislation would free states and academic institutions from unnecessary federal regulations concerning issues traditionally the responsibility of individual states and academic institutions.
Cosponsor of H.R. 2514 the A PLUS Act
If enacted, this legislation would restore accountability in education to local control by allowing states to enter into five-year performance agreements with the Secretary of Education. The agreements would exempt states from federal education programs while permitting federal education funds to be received in block grants and used to any lawful educational purpose deemed beneficial by the states. The A PLUS Act is supported by the Heritage Foundation.