“If somehow the Republicans running the state government decide that we have a budget big enough to encourage and reward illegal aliens who migrate here with a private school education, we should all start a “what about” list that includes detailed inquiries about the allocation for our own homeless, our veterans and the pay we give our law enforcement officers.”
Many thanks to InsiderAdvantage for posting Jake Evans’ recent column in support of “school choice” legislation passing in the 2023 General Assembly. Kudos to Evans for including the commonsense caveat that the state benefit should be limited in its scope of recipients.
I write to offer a few observations and suggestions on the important matter. Evans wrote that “last legislative session, the General Assembly considered a bill embodying the concepts of school choice. The Georgia Educational Freedom Act provided for a $6,000 scholarship to nearly all of Georgia’s 1.7 million public school students, from kindergarten through 12th grade.”
It is vital to a fair discussion on this matter that all concerned are careful with the accuracy of the information they present.
Lines 3 & 4 in the Georgia Educational Freedom Act make it clear that any taxpayer benefits for “school choice” would have been completely dependent on appropriations put in place by the legislature. Any appropriation – or lack thereof – would determine the number (if any) of K-12 students who would be able to access taxpayer dollars to attend private schools in Georgia.
On eligibility for any proposed school choice benefit, Evans seems to be inclined to limit eligibility to “taxpayers.” We should ask if he means federal and or state income taxes, sales taxes or property taxes. Here, it is important to note the raging illegal immigration crisis in the U.S. and in Georgia and remind everyone favoring “school choice” that Georgia is home to more illegal aliens than green card holders, with estimates of that illegal population going up to 400,000-ish foreigners here in violation of our immigration laws.
None of these “undocumented workers” can escape paying some sort of tax in Georgia even if their income level would exclude them from paying state income taxes – were they to be inclined to obey our tax laws.
I submit that paying taxes alone is not a qualification for inclusion in a state program that would provide taxpayer-funded private school tuition to any, some or all K-12 students in our state.
I am a retired, black conservative American who has raised two wonderful kids in Georgia. As an independent voter who takes an unapologetic pro-enforcement position on U.S. borders, I have watched as the plight of poor Americans is often ignored when the politics of illegal immigration and “migrants” is discussed. If somehow the Republicans running the state government decide that we have a budget big enough to encourage and reward illegal aliens who migrate here with a private school education, we should all start a “what about” list that includes detailed inquiries about the allocation for our own homeless, our veterans and the pay we give our law enforcement officers.
Any and all legislation considered under the Gold Dome should include the consideration that we should do everything possible to discourage illegal immigration in Georgia. Limiting school choice benefits to U.S. citizens and green card holders is the answer to the question that too few legislators are asking on school choice eligibility.
Whatever the percentage of students that are funded, including illegal aliens in the “educational freedom” funding concept should instantly end the discussion on school choice.
Everett Robinson of Canton is a founding member of the board of the Dustin Inman Society.