The Obama administration plans to fund a new round of school choice programs aimed at helping low- and moderate-income children.
The Education Department announced Wednesday it will fund $1 billion to establish new partnerships with local school districts and states to promote school choice.
In the first round of funding, the department will provide $2.4 billion to states and local school systems to support school choice initiatives.
That will include $300 million in grants for school districts, including $25 million to create new partnerships, and $5 million to partner with community organizations.
The administration will also award $50 million to states to help implement new initiatives to support student learning, as well as $150 million to encourage states to adopt and expand policies that increase the number of students in high-quality early learning programs.
The program will be funded by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and was introduced by President Obama during his first term in office.
It’s a controversial proposal, as the education community argues that school choice is ineffective at promoting the academic and economic well-being of low- to moderate- and middle-income school children.
Some of the most vocal opponents of the plan are school districts who have argued that the funding is a direct subsidy for private school vouchers.
“In many cases, we’re going to be able to get parents out of the private sector, because we’re not going to subsidize the private business, and it’s going to save money on those kids,” said David Plouffe, Obama’s chief of staff during his presidential campaign.
“We’re going not subsidize those private businesses and those private schools.”
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