- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Following through on his promise to promote school choice, Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a measure Wednesday that would create tax incentives aimed at helping students cover the costs of private school.

Mr. Rubio, the Florida Republican who delivered the official Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, said his “Educational Opportunities Act” would open up tax breaks for individuals and corporations that send charitable contributions to scholarship-granting organizations, which provide money to eligible students who attend private elementary and secondary schools.

“This bill will incentivize investment in students and empower parents and K-12 students by allowing more educational opportunities, especially in low-income households that would otherwise not be able to afford it,” Mr. Rubio said. “It’s the kind of incentive that will help improve education in America and prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow, without additional burdens on the American taxpayer.”

Since the November election, several GOP leaders, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, have put a renewed emphasis on school choice, holding it up as a way to strengthen the nation’s educational system and a potential way to connect Republicans limited government message to Hispanic and black communities.

“We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice,” Mr. Rubio said in his response to Mr. Obama Tuesday.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, ran with a similar message in his response Tuesday evening on behalf of the Tea Party Express, saying that a good education should be open to everyone “whether you live on Country Club Lane or in government housing.”

“This will only happen when we allow school choice for everyone, rich or poor, white, brown, or black,” Mr. Paul said Tuesday night. “Let the taxes you pay for education follow each and every student to the school of your choice. Competition has made America the richest nation in history. Competition can make our educational system the envy of the world. The status quo traps poor children in a crumbling system of hopelessness. When every child can, like the president’s kids, go to the school of their choice, then will the dreams of our children come true.”

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