Davis Introduces Bill to Provide Federal Education Grants to Students in Schools Closed to In-Person Learning

Jan 12, 2022
Education
Press

Washington, D.C.

Davis’ “Open Schools Act” would provide up to $10,000 per student to seek alternative forms of in-person education if the student’s public school is closed for in-person learning due to COVID

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) is introducing the Open Schools Act, legislation that would provide up to $10,000 in a federal education grant to students if their local public school is closed to in-person learning for COVID-related reasons. Davis is introducing the bill after Chicago Teachers Union members unilaterally walked off the job from in-person teaching last week and abandoned Chicago schoolkids.

“Teachers unions are failing our kids. School closures rob our nation’s children of an education beyond just what they learn in the classroom. Countless children, many of whom are from poor and minority neighborhoods, have had no option when their schools fail them. America’s laptop class is blind to the challenges facing working families, and it’s time we put the needs of our children first. Power in the hands of parents, not teachers unions.”   Rep. Rodney Davis

The purpose of the Open Schools Act is to give parents the means to provide their children an in-person education if their local public school is closed or shut down to in-person learning due to COVID. A closed or shut down school means any school that is partially or temporarily closed, is partially in-person, fully shut down or is operating in any manner in which less than 100 percent of the school’s students are learning in-person on a given day due to COVID-19.

The grant can be used for tuition for in-person schooling, transportation, school meals, or any other education-related expenses. Eligible tuition includes tuition to a private or parochial school, a neighboring public school (for students who live outside of the school district’s boundaries), a public charter school, home-schooling, tutoring, or other forms of in-person learning.

The grant would be funded by clawing back unspent funds from the nearly $130 billion that was appropriated for K-12 schools through the so-called American Rescue Plan (ARP), which was signed into law last year, in part, to allegedly open schools for in-person learning, according to the White House. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, roughly $200 billion in COVID relief funding has been appropriated to K-12 schools.

You can find the legislative text of the Open Schools Act here.

Background:

Last week, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) told teachers not to show up in-person at Chicago Public Schools (CPS), abandoning CPS students and putting CPS parents in an untenable situation yet again. Teachers unions across the country have advocated for school closures during the pandemic, even after schools have received hundreds of billions of dollars in federal COVID aid to assist schools during the pandemic and open schools for in-person learning.

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