State lawmakers in South Carolina are advancing a piece of legislation that would offer tax credits as high as $1,000 to parents who homeschool their children.
Senate Bill 933 — sponsored by 21 Republican legislators — is under deliberation in committee. Defining “home school” as “a home, residence, or location where a parent or legal guardian teaches one or more children,” the legislation reads:
Beginning with the 2022-2023 School Year, a parent or legal guardian who teaches one or more qualifying students at home … may claim a credit against his taxable income equal to the total cost of any home school association and curriculum fees or one thousand dollars, whichever is less, for each qualifying child attending a home school. The credit allowed by this subsection may be claimed fully for the tax year in which the fees were paid provided the qualifying student completes the school term for that school year.
The bill currently has no Democratic support.
In response to COVID-19, public school districts across the United States enacted various forms of virtual instruction. In many school systems — particularly, urban school districts controlled by teachers’ unions — the return to traditional learning has been slow.
However, the failure of virtual learning has induced a renaissance in home education and other alternatives to public school systems. A report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools showed that charter school enrollment increased by 7.1% during the 2020-2021 school year — marking the largest expansion in five years.
“Nearly 240,000 new students enrolled in these innovative, student-centered public schools, despite a sharp decrease in overall public school enrollment during the same period,” said the analysis. “Of the 42 states evaluated, 39 experienced charter school enrollment increases, while only three saw modest decreases. By comparison, district school enrollment dropped precipitously in every state.”
The report likewise found that from March 2020 to September 2020, homeschooling rates across the country grew between 5.4% and 11%. The United States Department of Education revealed that enrollment in public schools “fell by its largest margin in at least two decades” — a drop representing a 3% loss in enrollment between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.
The rising popularity of left-wing instruction — especially Critical Race Theory (CRT) and LGBTQ ideology — has also motivated many parents to seek new educational opportunities. For instance, Detroit Public Schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti boasted that Critical Race Theory is embedded within every facet of the system’s work.
“Our curriculum is deeply using critical race theory, especially in social studies, but you’ll find it in English language arts and the other disciplines,” Vitti said at a recent board meeting. “We were very intentional about creating a curriculum, infusing materials and embedding critical race theory within our curriculum.”
Vitti’s comments occurred in spite of numerous Michigan educators denying that Critical Race Theory is being taught in their schools. Meanwhile, two laws — House Bill 5097 and Senate Bill 460 — currently working their way through Michigan’s state government would ban teaching certain elements of Critical Race Theory.