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Send Federal Education Dollars Directly To Parents, Paul Argues

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AP Photo/Susan Walsh
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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is pushing legislation that would allow federal K-12 funds to go directly to families to pay for educational needs whether students are in public, private, or homeschool environments.

The Support Children Having Open Opportunities for Learning (SCHOOL) Act introduced by Paul this week would permit families to use federal dollars, originally destined for public schools, for things like tuition, class materials, technology, special education support, and classes outside the home.

The goal, according to a press release from the senator, is to have the dollars "follow the eligible child, learning in person or remotely, to the school of their choice." The lawmaker sees the legislation as necessary in a time when parents are being asked to balance work and their child's education.

Paul has been highly critical of Republican colleagues backing another major federal aid package, arguing the country's ballooning debt remains a threat. Sen. Mitch McConnell has proposed another $105 billion in education aid, including $70 billion to help K-12 schools reopen. The package would split the money evenly between schools with in-person learning and those with online or hybrid instruction.