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Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-17

State Rep. Vicki Kraft is eyeing to pass legislation the lawmaker says would offer more choice for parents in where their children attend school, devoting funds to be available to pay for homeschool education or private school tuition.

Kraft, R-Vancouver, filed House Bill 2933, the Education Choice Scholarship Program, Feb. 6, a Washington State House Republicans release stated. Kraft stated in the release the bill was intended to provide options for parents desiring a better education than what was currently available through public means.

“Many parents are expressing to me their frustrations with the teachings of public schools, much of which is mandated by the Legislature and backed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, which does not reflect their values — comprehensive K-12 sex education among those. They want options other than what is now available for their children,” Kraft stated in the release “This legislation would allow parents to opt out of the public K-12 education system and enroll their children elsewhere.”

The money for the scholarships would come out of the Washington opportunity pathways account, according to the bill text, which currently is used for a number of grants and scholarships as well as charter schools. Funding through the scholarship program would be similar to what was allowed for public school students currently, Kraft stated in the release, and would go into a specific scholarship account to be used by a parent for private school tuition “or home-based instruction” of their choice.

“I’m a big proponent of alternatives. I’m introducing this bill to provide other opportunities for parents to have full choice of what they want their children to learn,” Kraft stated in the release.

In the release Kraft pointed to growing support of education options, mentioning President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech Feb. 4 in which he said “18 states have created school choice in the form of opportunity scholarships.” Trump noted that “tens of thousands of students remain on waiting lists” for the program.

“The time is now to bring this same opportunity of parental choice to Washington state. Let’s allow parents to decide what’s best for their children, not government, and pass this legislation,” Kraft added in the release.

The bill has backing from Kraft’s counterparts in the 18th Legislative District, as Reps. Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff, both Vancouver Republicans, are co-sponsors. As of press deadline the bill was referred to the House Education Committee.

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