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Senator Tammy Nichols Unveils ‘School Choice’ Legislation

By • January 24, 2023

Senator Tammy Nichols and the Idaho Freedom Caucus have unveiled a draft routing slip (RS) today regarding ‘school choice.’

The intent of the proposal is education money in Idaho could be used for schooling of the parent’s choice, funding that would ‘follow the child,’ instead of the traditional allocation to public schools only. Senator Nichols explains,

“Education Savings Accounts (ESA’s) allow families to take their children’s state-funded education dollars to the education providers of their choosing-whether it be a public, private, charter, or home school program. If we truly believe in universal school choice for all, then we should have no problem with funding students, and not the systems they are in. Idaho students and families win, when they have options.”

This issue is drawing controversy and discussion from many individuals and groups across Idaho. Instead of typical party-line debate, this issue is finding support on both sides, as well as opposition.

Rowan Astra of Satanic Idaho tweeted today:

“I for one support Idaho legislation for private school vouchers! Students having the option to go to a satanic school will really be great I think. Maybe something like ‘Light-bringer Academy?’ I mean, if funds can support religious private schools, surely satanic ones as well.”

Homeschooling Mom Meg Holley is opposed to the legislation.

“I believe a child’s education and instruction are the responsibility of the parents. I’m disturbed by any move to have government funds “follow” a child…. having the government follow you for any reason isn’t a good thing. Currently homeschooling is a protected right in Idaho and completely legal. It’s a valid school choice already. Any new legislation that applies to homeschoolers is one more step toward government control. Most of us have chosen this way of educating our kids because it’s our God-given duty and our right. We don’t need permission or funds from the government.”


The Idaho Democratic Party tweeted this image today, with the caption, “It’s simple.”

Luke Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho tweeted,

“Iowa’s ESA voucher program will cost $345 million a year. How much would a similar program cost in Idaho? Scaled to population, it would cost Idaho taxpayers nearly $200 million a year. That’s 10 times what voucher proponents are claiming.”

Idaho Freedom Caucus shared images of all 7 pages of the proposed bill this evening on their Twitter account.

A routing slip is a draft that is awaiting permission from the Committee Chairman for an introductory hearing. Typically routing slips are kept confidential until that initial ‘print hearing,’ but the Idaho Freedom Caucus chose to release this draft ahead of time. If allowed by Chairman Dave Lent (R-Idaho Falls), the RS will be introduced in the Senate Education Committee.

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Tags: Charter School, Education Funding, Homeschool, Idaho Department of Education, Idaho Freedom Caucus, Private School, Public School, School Choice, School Vouchers, Senate Education Committee, Senator Tammy Nichols

31 thoughts on “Senator Tammy Nichols Unveils ‘School Choice’ Legislation

  1. Public education has already failed if you look at test scores. Any other field would be gutted and reformed to work for children rather than unions, but big money has big influence and control of the minds ofchildren are tools for others to gain power.
    Money is not knowledge and it does not impart education. Money orrupts and a corrupt public educational system has dumbed down our childeren while building many campuses and pensions.
    The government has no right to control the minds of our children. People that understand that should have a financially viable means to opt out of a failed system.

  2. School Choice takes the money away from the Teacher’s Unions and puts the money directly into the hands of parents. It’s a very good choice for Idaho. It would be really great for my homeschooling family. It would also open up private education or meaningful duel enrollment for many children in Idaho. I think it’s a great idea.

  3. I really hope this passes. Parents should have the choice for schooling their children especially the way the education system in this country is falling apart. Kids in private schools are taught what should be taught and not brain washed by the radicalism of far left people. We don’t have any kids in school and I would just as soon like to designate my tax money toward private education rather than public education even though thats not possible it would be a great part of this bill

  4. Idaho democrat party – “public money is for public schools”? Where did the money come from? It came from PRIVATE individuals that own property in the state. Government didn’t pay the money, they took it from the private citizen and give it to the government indoctrination centers! Time for a change! If and when public schools get back to the job of educating instead of indoctrinating, maybe then they can get some of the money back!

    1. Well said , Steve ! Very well said. That’s exactly what I thought as I read the article , referring to the ” Public Money – Public School ” moronic statement that was made in this article .

  5. Get the unions out of government employment.
    We then will not have the unioniozed teachers destroyingn the minds of the children. Lets get some politiciansn that actually do what is needed . our politicians and government employees are a crime gang destroying our lives.

    1. For anyone who thinks this is a GOOD THING. understand when the government hands you money it always comes with conditions. Understand that maybe not today but down the line they will tell you that you have to do certain things in order to be eligible or use a certain curriculum to do it.

      Just think about that for a second…they make a program, they can make the rules. Parents won’t get to call the shots.

  6. Let the parents be pay for their childs education.. Government schools runn withnthr effiency of the DVM. Get the government out of education and relieve the tax burdon of educating other parents children

  7. The more centralized the decision-making – the less valuable and applicable it will be. That’s just the facts. Schooling should be a community decision – not even a State one and certainly not a Federal one. And Parents – not a “board” – should be the ones okaying the curriculum and policies. You want woke? Pay for it yourself and leave the rest of us – especially our kids – alone.

  8. Nice try morons. Then they can go to satanic schools. Do you think we’re that stupid? Is that supposed to change people’s minds. They already go to satanic schools now. This bill would mean they don’t have to. And the idea it would cost $200 million is nonsense. If done correctly the amount spent could be cut by 75% with all the waste we have now in school spending

  9. If this doesn’t pass it’s time for a statewide tax boycott. No more money for these marxist schools no matter what.

  10. Kudos to Tammy Nichols and all those who are striving to take Idaho schools from Mediocrity to Meritocracy! In government schools all you get is collectivist, communist education — one size fits all and “woke” is the word of the day. Allowing our children to escape the mediocrity of Idaho’s union-controlled failing education is the best answer! Idaho education has had a bad wrap for years, deservedly so! It is time to change that by legislating for Education Savings Accounts where kids can escape to an actual academic environment!!

  11. I would like to know if this bill has protections for homeschooling families who choose not to accept vouchers in to avoid encroaching regulations by the government? Homeschool Idaho makes a valid point–it was not all that long ago that parents were thrown in jail for homeschooling their kids right here in Idaho. Fortunatley, we now have the best homeschool laws in the nation, maybe even the world, and we don’t want to see that changed.

    I do agree that families need more educational freedom. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for teacher unions and the Marxist indoctrination of our youth. Instead of vouchers or ESA’s, I would like to see taxes lowered for everybody, and less money being funneled into failing public schools.

    1. I would like to know that as well. I would hope that homeschooling would not be negatively impacted and hopefully, money can go toward that. I’d rather my tax dollars go toward families who are homeschooling than public schools, which IMHO, are completely broken.

  12. ANY funds given BACK by the government are government control over your right to homeschool, this should not be supported by any homeschool family. Please read the multiple articles Homeschool Idaho wrote about this. This is the first step towards government control over homeschool in idaho. If Tammy Nichols or like minded legislatures really wanted to make a difference, they would work with local counties and pass legislation that never takes the money out of peoples pocket in the first place. In Payette county almost half of property taxes go to public education. Why should people be FORCED to fund public education, or ANY education for that matter. Nobody has liberty when forced to fund broken government systems. Dont sell out your true education freedom for a governement handout.

    1. Sean as a Christian school educator, I respectfully do not understand your premise. I will take your advice and read the articles you suggested. That withstanding, I just don’t see that this would regulate or control homeschool families. Tech Trep Academy exists in our state and many homeschool families choose to enroll their homeschoolers so they can get assistance and resources to help them with homeschooling. There are limitations and you have to submit to state testing but again, the family has the choice to enroll or homeschool on their own. I can’t imagine embedded in this legislation it requires all families to opt in. If it did then it’s certainly bad legislation that should be avoided. However if you’re suggesting the alternative is abolishing paying taxes that go to education, then I’d suggest that we would lose the good at expense of idealistic perfection. I respectfully disagree that it is the first step to govt control but rather the first step to taking it back. Appreciate your thoughts and comments more. I’ll take you up on that reading!

      1. Chris,
        Respectfully, promoting an organization like tech trep academy leads me to believe you dont understand the “legal” defintions of “private homeschooling” in idaho. Enrolling your child in an academy like that changes the legal definition of your childs education status. According to Idaho law, enrolling in any public or charter classroom or online schooling is now considered a “public education” student.
        Falling under all the government requirements and oversight of a “public education” student. Also there are always strings attached to goverment assistance or kick backs. Look at many other government programs for examples. Copy this link of an Indiana homeschool organization explaining how Tech Trep Academy works.

        1. R
          Thanks for the feedback. I was not promoting “Tech Trep” only using that as an example of an option that families can choose (understanding that “legally” categorizes them as a public school student) or families can remain independent sovereign home school families. The School Choice legislation is another choice for families. If homeschool families feel that the “strings attached” outweigh the benefits, they can and should opt out. The point I was addressing was the earlier comment fearing that homeschool families would be “forced” to opt in. This is simply not the case, as I understand it. Great Tech Trep article by the way. Thanks for sharing!

    2. It is called the Idaho constitution. “A free public universal education.” Homeschoolers could use the vouchers for sports, music, tutoring and other educational tools.
      I work at a public charter school and it is a fabulous education. Somehow we manage to educate kids at half the cost of the regular public system.

  13. Way past time to drive a stake through the heart of public education and return that power to the parents. Collectivist education has been a total disaster..

  14. As a Homeschooler, I struggle with the thought that the ESA is the first step into controlling the lives and curriculum of those of us who have paid our OWN way to educate our children. Even IF the money “follows the children”, the government NEVER allows that without strings of accountability and the Public unions will NOT give in without a fight. However, if MORE parents would remove their children from these godless institutions (yes, sometimes sacrifice is needed and there are people out there who will help), then they could actually be shut down in areas where more families CHOOSE alternatives for the education of their children.

  15. Our property taxes are outrageous here in Idaho plus we have a state income tax on top of that. The politicians talk talk talk about tax reductions but that’s all it is, talk. The state is forcing the citizens to support the corrupt leftist controlled public school system with our high property taxes and no option to send our tax dollars to the education institution of our choice, like charter or private schools. Reduction of property taxes and school choice are good first steps. Doubt Brad Little will sign any school choice bill though.

  16. This bill is a must pass so Parents make the choice ,I am definitely fighting Evil in my Riggins Idaho at Salmon River School district 243 Full of books with pronografty Found websites full of porn ,Toy stores ,Give kids places to go to share online sex ,But the community supports this crap.We live in a sick world

  17. I support this legislation as long as any strings attached do not dictate ideologies and cirriculums that don’t reflect parents’ wishes. Ideally, we would have a purely private system that was free from any mob controls (unions) and Special Interests (Identitarians) et al.

    As far as what the DemoRats posted:

    Money is for

    There, I fixed it for them!

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