Kraft says education committee chair declines hearing on school choice bill; expresses disappointment

Rep. Vicki Kraft has expressed disappointment that a bill she authored to allow parents to choose the learning environment that best meets their children's needs may not receive a public hearing.

House Bill 1215 would establish the K-12 Education Scholarship Program in Washington state, which would award up to $7,000 per student each school year to be used for costs related to private school or homeschool instruction. The measure was referred to the House Education Committee, but Kraft says the committee chair recently told her no public hearing would be scheduled.

“I do think at the very least, the public should be able to discuss the merits of this bill in an open setting with the Education Committee members during this legislative session. This bill is about giving parents, not government, the choice of what type of education their children should be able to receive. At a time like this during the COVID-19 shutdown, when even the state's top school officials are saying the education system is not working for kids, now is the time to have that discussion,” said Kraft, R-Vancouver.

“There is an enormous frustration among parents that education options are limited. 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. Shouldn't we allow citizens to tell us why in a public hearing?” asked Kraft.

Without a public hearing, Kraft's bill is likely dead for the session.

“I'm not letting this bill slip away quietly to its death. It is too important for the parents and children of our state. It challenges the status quo and gives parents options, including the ability to homeschool, provide private education, or choose the public-school option that is best for their child,” said Kraft. “At the very least, parents should be heard! It's time we discuss best practices and school choice options. I hope the Education Committee chair will reconsider and immediately schedule House Bill 1215 for a public hearing.”

Kraft encourages parents and citizens who would like a public hearing scheduled for House Bill 1215 to call the toll-free Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 and ask to leave a message for their lawmakers, or contact members on the House Education Committee at https://leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/ED/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov