Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) recently introduced the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 (H.R. 5199). This legislation would allow parents of military-connected children to establish voluntary Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to pay for a wide variety of qualified education services that work best for their children.
Families who serve in the armed forces move from duty station to duty station with little-to-no choice in where they live or what schools their children attend. This lack of choice is a national security issue because recruiting and retaining talent in the military is vital to our military readiness.
According to a survey conducted by Military Times, 35 percent of 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. By providing education choice through ESAs, we can serve military families and give the military a key tool to both attract and retain the skilled men and women in uniform that keep us safe.
Men and women who serve our nation’s military have dedicated their lives to defending us. Congress has an opportunity right now to stand up against special interests and fight for our military families.
Key Talking Points
Strengthens national defense. A strong national defense requires retaining well-trained active duty personnel. According to a survey conducted by Military Times, 35 percent of active duty families say that dissatisfaction with their children’s education was a significant factor in their decision to remain in or leave military service. ESAs provide greater incentive to stay.
Expands educational choice. ESAs allow parents to customize their children’s education experiences. Qualified uses include private school tuition, tutoring services, online learning programs, educational therapies, textbooks, vocational programs, and more. Funds roll over year-to-year and can even go toward 529s and higher education until the pupil is 22 years of age.
Fiscally responsible. The Educations Savings Accounts for Military Families Act allows a portion of Impact Aid funding to be redirected to the parents of military-connected children rather than to the closest public school. In this way, the money follows the child and goes towards resources that are tailored to his or her needs. Quarterly expense reports provide transparency and accountability.
Sets good precedent. H.R. 5199 sets the right precedent when it comes to school choice. Positive effects on military families’ educational experience will pave the way for states to expand the reach of Education Savings Accounts to the general populace.
These are notes to use when calling your member of Congress. Always remember to make these notes your own and include a personal story if you have one relating to the topic.You can find their phone number on the Heritage Action Dashboard.
Hi, this is [NAME] from [CITY].
I am calling to ask [MEMBER OF CONGRESS] to co-sponsor the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 (H.R. 5199). It honors the sacrifice that military families are already making by extending school choice options for their children.
Education choice for our military families is not only common sense policy, but it provides greater incentive for families to remain in the armed services. This maximizes our investment—training new recruits is costly and time consuming—and relieves the burden many families face when traveling from duty station to duty station.
A military Education Savings Account would allow an active duty parent to receive a portion of the funds already allocated to the Impact Aid Program, personally directing it towards whatever resources best suit his or her child whether that be private tutoring, online courses, or home schooling curriculum.
As you consider adding new policies in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), please consider including Rep. Banks’ Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act to help strengthen the military and better serve military families.
Thanks so much!
Below is a sample letter to the editor. We encourage you to adapt and personalize the letter below. Heritage Action Regional Coordinators are always here to help edit your letter and get it published.
[MEMBER OF CONGRESS],
On matters regarding the education of our nation’s children, parents are best equipped to decide what is best for them—not federal bureaucrats.
Every child possesses unique abilities and needs, especially when moved from duty station to duty station. You have the opportunity to stand up against special interests and promote a military parent’s chance to best meet their children’s educational needs by supporting Rep. Banks’ (R-Ind.) Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 (H.R. 5199).
This is common sense legislation. It provides incentive for active duty personnel to remain in service which is conducive to maintaining a strong national defense. It redirects some existing federal funding towards the students rather than school administrations. And it extends to our service members and their families the honor they have earned.
Military families already sacrifice so much for our nation. They rarely have a say in where or when they move, so it makes sense to at least extend educational choice.
[MEMBER OF CONGRESS], supporting the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act will allow parents to be parents. Give men and women of our armed forces the power to invest in their children’s growth and development so that they can best serve our nation.