How often do you hear the argument that school choice is a bad idea because it drains funds from already underfunded public schools? We hear it just about every day. Those conversations can be frustrating, but the good news is that we have data on our side.
On April 30, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance (DOI) issued a “Notice Regarding Nondiscrimination” directed at health insurance companies doing business in the Commonwealth. The DOI Notice forbids health insurance companies from selling policies that “discriminate” on the basis of gender identity. Insurers may not sell policies that exclude “gender transition,” including the administration of hormones and “sex reassignment” surgery.
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) has sent a Reservation of Rights letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the free and reduced lunch program to help support ACSI Christian Schools' rights for those participating in the Hot Lunch and food programs. The renewals for these programs should not be hindered by a nondiscrimination statement that is contrary to a schools beliefs or tenants of faith. ACSI recognizes the importance of observing the proper church-state boundaries between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and our member schools.
The administration and DCED have removed the nondiscrimination statement that included gender, gender identity and sexual expression language from the EITC and OSTC guidelines and applications. This is a significant blessing from God. If you are a scholarship organization, the forms are updated on the website and we can participate once again in these incredibly important programs to our families in good faith.
Consider and pray about several things that the DCED very pointed example makes clear:
The Free / Reduced Lunch program is adding a sexual orientation, gender identity non-discrimination clause that must be consented to in order to participate in the program. Schools who plan to participate in the lunch program are suggested to include a reservation of rights letter with their applications.
You can use money contributed to a child's 529 Plan to pay for their K-12 education expenses. Pennsylvania will follow the Federal tax legislation signed into law on December 22, 2017, which includes several new provisions related specifically to 529 plan accounts, beginning with the 2018 tax year:
• Account owners can use assets to pay for qualified K-12 expenses up to $10,000 per year, per student.
• Account owners can treat K-12 withdrawals as qualified education expenses with respect to federal tax and PA PIT purposes.
School choice requires an active engagement in politics. This does not mean dipping a toe in the proverbial pond of politics, but actively engaging in local and state politics and calling its school community to involvement as well.
Educations savings accounts are the future of school choice, and new data out today show how families are using ESAs to customize educational options.
In 2014, Florida became the second state, after Arizona in 2011, to enact education savings accounts (ESAs), which enable families to utilize state funding to customize K-12 schooling options beyond just private school tuition. This year, more than 10,000 Florida students with special needs utilized the program, which is now called the Gardiner Scholarship.
LANCASTER (Jan. 19, 2018) – The Honorable Mike Turzai, PA Speaker of the House and candidate for governor was awarded the Pennsylvania affiliate of the Council on American Private Education (PACAPE) School Choice Champion Award at a ceremony on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Doubletree Willow Valley Resort in Lancaster, PA. PACAPE hosted the event as a part of the Association of Christian School’s (ACSI) Northeast Regional Leadership Conference where 350 private school administrators attended.
Yesterday (Monday, May 22) we produced a webinar that was recorded; it will help schools know what to do about sexual and gender identity threats our schools face. You can view that webinar using the links below. For more information and to find out what actions you can take, we encourage you to read this email.