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Barletta Celebrates National School Choice Week

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WASHINGTON – National School Choice Week (NSCW) is held every January to celebrate effective education choice options for children in grades K through 12.  NSCW celebrates all types of education choice – from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, online academies, private schools, and homeschooling.  This year, over 32,000 NSCW events will be held across the country from January 21 – 27.  Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11), who is the father of two teachers, applauded the tremendous strides taken for school choice across America.

“Empowering parents to choose the education environment for their children is a critical thread in the fabric of American education,” Barletta said.  “Federal efforts expanding the freedom of parents to provide their children with quality education is essential to the future of our nation.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act further empowers parents by expanding the use of 529 college savings plans to include elementary or secondary public, private, or religious schools.  Every child in America must have access to a good education.  By empowering parents, we can ensure the avenues for education grow and prosper into the future.”

Congress approved 529 college savings plans in 1996 as a means to encourage families to save for college through federal tax-free earnings growth.  Many states have followed suit by exempting from state taxes the contributions to these plans, along with allowing earnings to grow tax-free.

Twenty years since they were created, almost $300 billion is currently invested in over 13 million 529 accounts.  More than three-quarters of these accounts are owned by working-class and middle-income households with annual incomes below $150,000.

Expanding the eligibility of 529 savings to include K-12 tuition will give families the freedom to access a quality education.  For many families, the incentive to save money tax-free means having more resources at a critical time in their child’s life – before college – to ensure they get the education they need not merely to graduate high school, but to be college or career ready.

Another program Barletta has long championed is the Schools and Homes in Education (SHINE). The program links schools and homes in order to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation.

“Afterschool programs like SHINE are so important for the children of this country, especially those whose parents work two to three jobs a day.  SHINE is critical to nurturing student development and achievement through project based activities that complement classroom learning, and they are also indispensable for parents who need a safe and educational alternative to costly child care. According to the Afterschool Alliance, eight in ten parents say afterschool programs help them keep their jobs.”

Barletta has long been a champion of education programs to provide parents with greater flexibility.  He has consistently been recognized for his work on behalf of afterschool programs.  Barletta was the only House member to receive the 2016 Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association, as a result of his leadership in saving federal funding for afterschool programs.

On January 10, 2018, Barletta sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney supporting Fiscal Year 2019 funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program.

 

Read Barletta’s letter to OMB Director Mulvaney HERE.

 

Read more about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act HERE.

 

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