Monday, June 18, 2012

Champions of D.C. Voucher Program Strike Deal with Administration

House Speaker John Boehner and Senator Joe Lieberman — two longtime champions of school choice in the nation's capital — today announced an agreement with the Obama Administration to fully fund and implement the highly-successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Last year, Speaker Boehner secured the reauthorization and expansion of the program through the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act during budget negotiations.  Despite overwhelming support from the D.C. Council and District Residents—74 percent of D.C. residents supported reauthorization of the program, according to a February 2011 poll—theAdministration zeroed out funding forthe OSP.

Just last month, Speaker Boehner and Senator Lieberman sent a series of letters to President Obama and Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan that called out the Administration for not effectively implementing the program as designated by law, and thus putting the educational futures of thousands of D.C. students in limbo.

But today, the families participating in the OSP can breathe a sigh of relief.  Under the agreement, the program will not limit the number of students that can participate in the program.  Further, parents seeking to renew their children’s scholarships can continue to submit their applications and parents who want to participate in the program may apply for a new scholarship.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was created in 2004 as part of a three-sector approach that equally funded the OSP, public charter schools, and traditional public schools. 

Research shows that students who used their opportunity scholarships in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years had a graduation rate of 94 percent, and 89 percent of those graduates went on to enroll in a two- or four-year college.  In addition, parental satisfaction for the programs remains very high, with 92 percent of parents being happy with their child’s academic progress and 98 percent intending to renew  for the 2012-13 school year.

Since the program began, more than 11,000 students have applied for the program and nearly 5,000 have participated.  The average annual household income for participating families is $23,401.  In addition, 94 percent of participating 12th graders graduated from the program and 89 percent enrolled in college. In the 2011-12 school year, 1,615 students participated in the program.

School Choice Now! applauds Speaker Boehner and Senator Lieberman for their continued support for this program and all the families across the District seeking better educational options.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

No comments:

Post a Comment