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April 03, 2018

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of our organizations and the millions of American families we represent, we write to express our strong support for the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 (H.R. 5199), introduced by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.). If signed into law, this legislation would allow parents of military-connected children to establish voluntary Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to pay for whatever educational service works best for their children.

Recruiting and retaining talent in the military is a challenging task, but one that is vital to military readiness and national security. Part of this challenge is due to the lack of high-quality educational options available for the children of military families. 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.

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. 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.

This is a problem Congress can solve. Armed with a military ESA, parents can send their children to a private school, take individual classes at a public school, school at home, use an online learning program, hire a private tutor, and eventually use any surplus to help pay for college. And by providing education choice through ESAs, the military will possess a key tool to both attract and retain military families that will help reduce turnover, save valuable resources, and retain institutional knowledge and skills necessary to defeat the enemy.

But this bill is about more than saving money or retaining talent. Military families already sacrifice so much on the battlefield, but far too often Washington fails them off the battlefield. Concerns over funding for school districts who serve military families are greatly exaggerated. Even if 10 percent of students left their assigned district schools with an ESA, research demonstrates that the changes in Impact Aid as a share of district budgets would represent just 0.10 percent of total budget expenses.

Men and women in the armed forces have earned the right to send their children to whatever school or educational service provider they believe will benefit their family. It’s the least we can do for those who are sacrificing the most.

We, the undersigned organizations, urge all members of Congress to support and cosponsor the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 (H.R. 5199).



Michael A. Needham, CEO

Heritage Action for America


Michael F. Acquilano, Director

South Carolina Catholic Conference


Jeanne Allen, CEO

Center for Education Reform


Jim Backlin, Vice President of Legislative Affairs

Christian Coalition of America


Maureen Blum, Vice President of Federal Affairs



Shawnna Bolick, Vice President, Development

Arizona School Choice Trust


Adam Brandon, President



Scott Bullock, President

Institute for Justice


Dan Caldwell, Executive Director

Concerned Veterans for America


Thomas W. Carroll, President

Invest In Education Foundation


Larry Cirignano, DC Representative

Children First Foundation


Kim Crockett, Esq., Vice President, Senior Fellow and General Counsel

Center of the American Experiment


James Cultrara, Executive Secretary

New York State Council of Catholic School Superintendents


Robert C. Enlow, President and CEO



Kimberly Fletcher, President and Founder

HomeMakers for America


Virginia Walden Ford, Executive Director

Parent Information Network


Heather R. Higgins, CEO

Independent Women’s Voice


Jim Kallinger, President

Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition


Phil Kerpen, President

American Commitment


Edward King, President

Defense Priorities Initiative


Sister Dale McDonald, Director of Public Policy

National Catholic Educational Association


David McIntosh, President

Club for Growth       


Joe McTighe, Executive Director

Council for American Private Education


Lisa B. Nelson, CEO

ALEC Action


C. Preston Noell III, President

Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.


Mike Rouse, President

American Association of Christian Schools


John Schilling, President

American Federation for Children


Norm Singleton, President

Campaign for Liberty


Eunie Smith, President

Eagle Forum


Jim Stergios, Executive Director

Pioneer Institute


P. George Tryfiates, Director for Government Affairs

Association of Christian Schools International


Brittany Vessely, Executive Director

Catholic Education Partners


Ellen E. Weaver, President and CEO

Palmetto Promise Institute


Secretariat for Catholic Education

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops