Kraft proposes grant program for private school, homeschooling
Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, reintroduced a bill last week that would establish a $7,000-per-child grant program for families who homeschool or send their children to private school.
The fund would be called the K-12 Education Scholarship Program. Her bill has since been referred to the House Education Committee.
“We’ve seen how students have been affected this past year from a lack of education choices. Students should be allowed to be in a learning environment that works for them,” Kraft said in a media release announcing her bill.
“This year alone, more than 32,000 Washington families have pulled out of the public-school system as they find that traditional zip-code assigned schools are simply not working for their children.”
Kraft introduced a similar bill in the last legislative session, though it never made it out of committee. That previous bill’s cosponsors included fellow Clark County Republicans Rep. Brandon Vick and Rep. Larry Hoff, both of Washington’s 18th Legislative District.
“Many parents are frustrated with the teachings of public schools and curricula, such as the new sex education mandate and new vaccination requirements, that do not reflect their values,” Kraft said.
In Washington state — one of the last states in the country to offer accreditation to charter schools — school choice is something of a lightning rod. Detractors say that such programs divert much-needed resources from public schools. They can also increase inequality in districts where families with more money pull their kids out, leaving those with fewer means behind in an underfunded system that’s paid per-student.
“If the public education system is a good option for kids, it seems logical that adding other choices should prove the merits of that option and create healthy competition,” Kraft said.