Veterans News / We The People

2,000 Veterans, Relatives Back Education Savings Accounts for Military Families

More than 2,000 military veterans, spouses, and other family members have signed a letter in support of a bill creating federally funded education savings accounts for military families to provide more choices and flexibility in schooling the children of those in the armed forces.

The signers “are writing to express our strong support for the Education Savings Account for Military Families Act of 2018,” they say in the letter released Tuesday by Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of The Heritage Foundation.

The letter—sent to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees—supports a bill introduced March 7 by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.

The legislation would establish a new kind of education savings account that military families could use to increase school choice options by paying for certain expenses.military-family-veteran-education

“According to a survey conducted by Military Times, 35 percent of readers, largely active-duty military families, say that dissatisfaction with their children’s education was a significant factor in their decision to remain or leave military service,” the letter says.

In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, Banks said the number of signatures on the letter shows the importance of the issue to military families.

“It’s clear that military families want more choice on how to best educate their children,” Banks said. “Every single one of these families has made tremendous sacrifices to serve our country, but their child’s education should not be one of them.”

The bill, currently before the House Education and Workforce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, would cover options such as private, online learning programs, private school tuition, individual classes and extracurricular programs at public schools, computer hardware, textbooks, and curriculums and other instructional materials, according to a report from The Heritage Foundation, which has supported the idea.

“Families who serve in the armed forces move from duty station to duty station with little choice in where they live or what schools their children attend,” the letter says. “Military-connected children are too often assigned to the district schools closest in proximity to military bases, regardless of whether those schools meet their needs. More than half of all active-duty military families live in states with no school-choice options at all.”

Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced a companion bill in the Senate on March 7.

“This bill lets parents customize their kids’ education, letting them find the opportunities that fit their family’s needs,” Sasse said in a written statement. “All of us should want to make sure that the decision to defend our freedom doesn’t mean kids miss out on the best education options available.”

The signers of the letter ask lawmakers to consider including the Banks legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets policies and spending priorities for the Defense Department.

“As you consider adding new policies in this year’s NDAA,” they write, “please consider including Rep. Banks’ Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 to help strengthen the military and better serve military families.”

From - The Daily Signal - by Rachel del Guidice

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LTC S
2 years ago

Our lives would have been much easier had we had some of the benefits being discussed in this bill. I think it would help if education tax dollars were attached to the child. That is, where the child goes to get their education is where the tax dollars go for that child. Today the money goes to the school district where the child lives and not where the child goes to school unless he goes to a public school in that district. If the child goes to a public school the child’s tax money still goes to the public school district. Also, the bus money should follow that child the same way. Billions are wasted on public school busing.

My wife and I made education an early priority for our 4 children. I was an Army Nurse Corps Officer with a MSN and my wife a civilian RN with a BSN. I never had a student loan and my wife paid her’s off long ago. We put our money into private Christian schools to educate our children. Yes, it was a sacrifice ( 2 nurses). We decided it was important enough to tough it out. Since the Army did not pay for any of my education (NONE) and my wife paid for her education I divided my GI Bill education benefits out to our children. The boys went into the Air Force and have their own GI bill but both girls are now Registered Nurses (BSN) due to that education benefit. We also used the Au Par program for in house child care since we both had to work to make ends meet. Transportation to/from school and events is not provided by private schools like it is paid for with tax dollars for public schools. That’s a major challenge for the military family. Needless to say, for many years there was not a lot of money left over. We did live in base housing most of the time which was actually great for the kids socialization and safety.

Unfortunately recent changes to the GI Bill limits the time transferring benefits to your children can be done to early in a career as an enlistment incentive. There is a short time window to do this. You may not be married or have children yet and it’s only available at that specific time window. After the time elapses you can no longer transfer the benefits. That needs to be reversed.

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