Congressman Brat, VA's 7th District wants you to VOTE NO to House Bill 610.
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HB 610 repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education (ED) such that ED is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states.
The bill also establishes an education voucher program through state block grants that divert money from public schools. States cannot opt out of the voucher system without losing federal education funding altogether. This money would be given directly to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child. Because HB 610 eliminates the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, these private and home education programs do not have to provide equal opportunity to education, which is the necessary assistance, such as transportation, meals, and language services, to enable socio-economically disadvantaged students the opportunity to attend and do well in school.
Equal education would also be undermined by repealing ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), a comprehensive program that covers programs for students of mixed abilities such as struggling learners, advanced learners, second language learners, minority learners such as Native Americans, Rural Education, and Education for the Homeless. ESSA also ensures School Safety (Gun-Free schools) and Monitoring/Compliance and Federal Accountability Programs (e.g. teacher accountability)—basically, access to accommodations and quality general education curriculum for all students.
Lastly, HB 610 abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act), which provides nutritional standards for school breakfast and lunch. (In general, the rule requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in school meals; and meet children's nutritional needs within their caloric requirements.) This means kids who buy breakfast or lunch at school, or receive free breakfast/lunch due to poverty, would not be guaranteed to receive a balanced, nutritional meal.
Citizens have worked hard over a number of decades to improve our educational system so children of all abilities, races, religions, cultural, economic, and linguistic backgrounds, could receive an equal and safe education under the law. House Bill 610 makes unacceptable, sweeping changes to the educational system that would effectively undermine equal access to equal education.
Therefore, I ask that you vote NO on House Bill 610 (HR 610).
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