The Department of Education is set to announce a new law aimed at ending the proliferation and use of school vouchers.
Under the proposed law, school districts would have to use federal funds to pay for any tuition students are receiving in-state.
The federal government has already spent $1.8 billion to help states pay for these vouchers since 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In 2018, more than 60 percent of the nation’s school districts were using vouchers, and more than half of them are in rural areas.
But there’s a catch: While states are responsible for their own school funding, the federal government still has to pick up the tab for most of the cost of education.
The bill also proposes creating a new agency to make it easier for states to use money from the federal voucher program for educational purposes.
Under this plan, states would have more control over how they spend their own money and could spend more of their funds on things like pre-kindergarten education or for community development.
The bill was also supported by education advocates.
“School choice is not a bad thing,” John Holsworth, a former education secretary under President George W. Bush, said in a statement.
“It’s a win-win, as states and districts can get more out of school choice than the federal program does, and the federal budget doesn’t have to be burdened with additional mandates for the education of our students.”
The law would require that districts must spend their funds to cover tuition for students who are receiving federal funding and students who aren’t.
This would not be the case for students in rural and low-income communities, where there are fewer private schools, Holsworth said.
“For students in those communities who can’t afford the private school tuition, this would be a win for all of us,” he said.
This is not the first time the Obama administration has tried to address this issue.
Earlier this year, it created the Office of School Choice to help educate states about how to spend federal money and to provide tools to schools to help with their costs.