The U.S. Congress has passed a historic tax reform that will give families and businesses much needed relief from burdensome tax rates. Two Texans played a critical role in this process, and they are both good friends of the homeschool community.
Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands is the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House that has worked to pass this historic legislation. Brady worked to add language to the House bill that would expand 529 education savings accounts. These accounts allow parents to invest their own money, grow it tax-free (much like a Roth IRA), and then use it for their children’s college expenses. The change by Brady would additionally allow people to use this account to pay for K-12 education expenses in private schools.
In the U.S. Senate, Texas Sen.Ted Cruz successfully amended the Senate version of the bill to allow not only private school K-12 education expenses, but also allow homeschool families to utilize these accounts as well. This would be, as one writer put it, “a game-changer.” However, in a last minute move, Democrats in the minority who all voted against the bill challenged the section allowing homeschoolers to participate, and Cruz’s language was stripped from the bill. Cruz says that this demonstrates the Democrats’ antipathy against homeschoolers.
Why is This U.S. Congress Legislation Important?
Last spring, Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) commissioned a scientific poll of the homeschool community in Texas on the issue of educational choice. We found that Texas homeschoolers believed that the most important legislative issue was to give parents more choices in the education of their children.
The poll results indicated that 70 percent of Texas homeschool parents said they supported educational choice legislation. Texans innately understand that the solution to many of the problems facing education is to give parents greater opportunities to decide what education type works best for their children.
Of course, the public education monopoly strongly disagrees, and seeks to limit the choices of families in education to protect the public education bureaucracy. It remains to be seen if the expansion of new educational choices will survive the congressional process. This means that now is a great time to act!
We would also like to thank Rep. Brady and Sen. Cruz for their great work on our behalf! Cruz has committed to continue working for the fair treatment of homeschoolers.