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Marco Rubio Joins Todd Rokita in Fighting for School Choice

March 18, 2015 - 7:00pm

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination next year, went to bat for school choice on Thursday, introducing a proposal to add a tax credit to help needy students attend private schools.

Rubio teamed up with U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., the chairman of the U.S. House Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, to unvei the Educational Opportunities Act. The proposal would allow Americans and business to receive tax credits if they support scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) that award scholarships to private schools based on need.

Under the bill, individuals supporting SGOs would be eligible for up to $4,500 in federal tax credits. Corporations are elegible for up to $100,000 in federal tax credits if they support SGOs.

Rubio insisted his proposal would give parents and children more flexibility in finding the right schools and would especially help lower-earning Americans.

It is shameful that the only parents in our country who dont have choice regarding their childrens education are parents living in poverty, said Rubio. This bill will ensure every parent and child has access to a school that best suits their learning needs where they can thrive and go on to become Americas future leaders. I look forward to working with Congressman Rokita to make this bill a reality.

Similar to the Hoosier states successful Our Scholarship Tax Credit program, the Educational Opportunities Act would help thousands of students from low- and middle- income families attend schools of their choice, said Rokita. This legislation capitalizes on Americans generosity and would increase access to educational opportunities without spending more money. I am grateful for Sen. Rubios continued leadership on this issue, and look forward to advancing the promise of school choice.

Rubio and Rokita introduced a similar proposal in 2013. While the bill won the applause of conservatives, including from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), it was sent to various committees where it did not see the light of day.

Rubio and Rokita have teamed up on education issues before. Last month, they brought out the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE)" Act which would change the National Labor Relations Act to allow more merit-based raises for high-performing teachers despite obstacles from the unions.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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