Amid LA teacher strike, Owens pushes for legislation to expand school choice to low-income students affected by school closures

Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) introduced the Kids in Classes Act, legislation to allow families with children in Title I schools to put unused federal education funds toward in-person education should their school close due to a teachers union strike. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.

This introduction comes as approximately 30,000 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers and personnel began a three-day strike, closing roughly 1,000 schools and forcing nearly half a million Los Angeles kids out of the classroom.

“The tragic push to keep classrooms closed led to a historic learning loss crisis and left millions of our most vulnerable students behind,” said Rep. Owens. “Three years later, teachers unions and political interest groups are still dodging accountability, denying parental rights, and failing to meet the academic standards America’s students deserve. Our kids have had enough, and the Kids in Classes Act ensures education opportunity for the children who need it the most.”

“Empowering parents to choose the educational option that best fits their child creates a world of opportunity for students in underserved communities,” said Senator Scott. “While lobbyists and big labor unions play politics, school closures continue to fail America’s children. Ensuring the next generation is protected from further learning loss enables all children – no matter their zip code – to receive the education they deserve.”

Data shows that children living in the poorest 20 percent of neighborhoods in the United States will experience the most negative and long-lasting effects of school closures. The Kids in Classes Act would allow these children’s families to put unused Title I funds toward:

  1. Curricular materials;
  2. Books and instructional materials;
  3. Technological educational materials;
  4. Tutoring or educational classes outside the home;
  5. Private school tuition;
  6. Testing fees;
  7. Diagnostic tools; and
  8. Educational therapies for students with disabilities.

The full text of the legislation is available here.