Lawmakers propose program to give money to ‘gifted’ children in low-income households

Molly Beck:

Children living in low-income households who are considered to be advanced learners will be eligible to receive a taxpayer-funded scholarship to use to pay for education expenses under a new program proposed by three lawmakers this week.

The scholarship program would provide $1,000 to families with “gifted and talented” students who are already eligible to receive free or reduced-price school lunches, which means the household’s annual income is at or below $45,510 annually for a family of four.

The program is proposed by Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, and Rep. Jason Fields, D-Milwaukee — lawmakers who have historically been strong supporters of private school voucher and charter schools — and will be open to 2,000 families beginning in the 2018-19 school year, if the bill passes and is signed by Gov. Scott Walker.

“These scholarships will provide students in families with low incomes the ability to access a wide range of educational opportunities that they may currently not have the resources to participate in,” the lawmakers wrote in a memo seeking support from other lawmakers.

“Who knows how many scientists, engineers, musicians, artists, and community leaders we are missing out on because their family can’t afford additional educational opportunities,” Darling said in a statement.