The issue of Education is important to our district and to my work in Congress.
As the former Director of the Arizona Governor’s Office for Children, the issue of education is one that I am passionate about. I am committed to providing our children with the best educational opportunities possible, by empowering parents to choose the schools their children will attend whether that choice is public, private or parochial.
In 1995, I authored the Arizona Scholarship Tax Credit legislation, which was signed into law on April 7, 1997. Having survived opposition from the ACLU and the NEA, and having been upheld by both the Arizona and the United States Supreme Court, this legislation has funded over 200,000 scholarships for children throughout our state. Since the law’s inception, Arizona taxpayers have made more than 400,000 donations, contributing in excess of $240 million.
America’s educational standing in the world must improve. According to the Heritage Foundation: “In many of the nation’s largest cities, fewer than half of all children graduate high school. Academic achievement and graduation rates have stagnated since the 1970s while countries around the world now outpace the United States.” These facts are completely unacceptable, and elected officials, parents, teachers and even the students should demand more from this country’s education system.
Each term as a member of Congress, I introduce the Children’s Hope Act - legislation which builds on the success of the Arizona Scholarship Tax Credit. The Children’s Hope Act encourages states to enact their own state scholarship tax credit. If a state enacts a scholarship tax credit of $250 or more, based upon the minimal guidelines that are outlined in the text of the legislation, all residents of that state are eligible to take part in an additional federal tax credit.
One of the most important things we can do for the future of America’s education system is to demand proficiency in English comprehension and speaking skills. All students – whether recent immigrants or children of longtime citizens – must learn to read and write English from the earliest age possible. This will promote unity in the education system as teachers will be released from the continual burdens of spending unnecessary time with non-English speakers along with the students who fluently read and write English.
Families have waited far too long for these reforms. America’s children deserve the best education possible and Congress has an ideal opportunity to employ a proven method to help make this happen.