Education

Call to action: Oppose school voucher bill in U.S. House

A number of Republicans in the U.S. House are supporting House Bill 610 (HR 610), a bill that would directly assault public schools by funding voucher programs and diluting nutritional standards for school meals. As the fiercely anti-public school Betsy DeVos takes over the Education Department, it is more important than ever to protect full, fair, and equitable funding for public education.

The changes to American public education proposed in HR 610 are seismic and potentially devastating—particularly to minorities and children already at risk. The bill will effectively implement the school voucher system, to be applied to children ages 5-17, and will begin the long-term process of defunding public schools. In addition, the bill will completely eliminate the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which is the original legal basis of the nation’s modern education system and, as such, has provided equal access to education for all, from K-12.

HR 610 would dismantle the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in 2015. ESSA is a big, comprehensive law that underwrites programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL classes, rural education, education for the homeless, school safety (e.g., gun-free schools), monitoring and compliance, federal accountability programs, and classes for minorities, including Native Americans.

Along with ESSA, HR 610 abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act), which provides nutritional standards for school breakfasts and lunches. The proposed bill also fails to stipulate any protections for special needs children.

HR 610 was introduced by Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa. Joining him as cosponsors were Rep. Andy Harris [R-Maryland], Rep. Trent Franks [R-Ariz.], and Rep. Pete Olson [R-Texas].

Please call your U.S. House representative (find) to oppose HR 610.

Hello, I am a constituent in zip code______ I am not a paid protester. I am calling to urge Rep. _________________ to vote against HR 610, which provides funding to create a national school voucher program. School vouchers will gut our public education system and will be especially harmful for students in rural communities, where there are fewer options for students. I am also very concerned about the removal of nutritional standards in school lunches. Please urge Rep. _______________ to oppose HR 610.