Education bill would provide scholarships to improve child learning

(The Center Square) – A bill that would empower parents to help their children recover learning losses has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-MS, has co-sponsored the RECOVER Act, known as Senate Bill 4753, which is designed to redirect unspent American Rescue Plan Act funding into a program that would help children regain learning losses that were suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, introduced the bill earlier this month.

“We are seeing the price paid by students because of the long pandemic shutdown of our schools,” Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate’s Labor, Health, and Human Services Committee and Education Appropriations Committee, said in a release. “We can begin to help recover learning losses by giving parents resources directly to use on what will help their children academically.

“The RECOVER Act is a responsible way to use what would be otherwise wasted ARPA dollars to empower families.”

The bill, known as the Raising Expectations with Child Opportunity Vouchers for Educational Recovery, has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. If enacted, the bill would grant Child Opportunity Scholarships directly to parents.

National test results, according to the release, have fallen to levels in math and reading that have not been seen in more than two decades. As of May, school districts and states still have not spent the lion’s share of $122 billion that was earmarked for education.

According to the release, the scholarships that would be created under the bill are targeted at low-income families that can be used for tutoring, private school tuition, books and other school materials, testing fees, and educational therapies for students with disabilities.

The bill, if enacted, would not create new spending, according to the release.

Endorsing the bill are the American Federation for Children, Parents Defending Education Action, Heritage Action, and Independent Women’s Voice, according to the release.

“States and school districts have only spent a fraction of the education funds they received through the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan – leaving kids helpless as they struggle to recover from academic setbacks,” Scott said in a release. “It’s clear that big-government bailouts won’t solve our education crisis. That’s why the RECOVER Act allows those funds to flow to a much better steward: parents.”