DeVos proposes tax credits for school choice scholarships

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday backed a proposal to give federal tax credits for donations to groups providing scholarships for private schools and other programs. 

Her proposal is called the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act and, according to The Associated Press, it would provide tax credits of up to $5 billion a year. 

"Education Freedom Scholarships would annually give hundreds of thousands of students across the country opportunities to find the right fit for their education," DeVos wrote Thursday in a USA Today op-ed, which was co-authored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.).

"The program would offer a dollar-for-dollar federal income tax credit for contributions to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships for individual elementary and secondary school students," DeVos added. "These scholarships would most benefit America's forgotten students who would finally have opportunities to pursue the best education for them in ways that rich, powerful and connected families always have."

DeVos also wrote in the op-ed that the scholarships would help students "access a whole menu of opportunities, including dual enrollment, special education services, advanced or elective courses not available in their assigned school buildings, transportation to out-of-zone opportunities, among many others."

"The key element of the proposal is freedom for all involved," she added. "Eligible students, families, teachers and schools, as determined by their states - all can participate at will and any can elect not to participate if that's the better choice for them."

DeVos has long been a proponent of school choice measures but has failed to gain momentum on such initiatives in Congress. Officials in the Department of Education see the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act as something that could be politically feasible, according to the AP.

Cruz and Byrne are reportedly proposing the plan in the Senate and House, respectively.