School Choice Now! is the official blog of the American Federation for Children, the nation's voice for educational choice. We seek to improve our nation’s K-12 education by advancing systemic and sustainable public policy that empowers parents, particularly those in low income families, to choose the education they determine is best for their children.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Obama Budget Excludes New Funding for Successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program
Obama announced his Fiscal Year 2014 budget this week, and unfortunately did
not provide any new scholarship funding for the highly successful D.C.
Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), despite having signed legislation in
2011 that reauthorized the program for five years.The president's budget only includes funding
for the statutorily required evaluation and program administration.
you follow AFC’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter, you have seen countless stories
posted about the success stories of this program.Since its beginning during the 2004-05 school
year, The OSP has helped thousands of children from low-income District
families receive the education they deserve.(Read about some the program’s success stories here, here, and here).
its inception, more than 11,000 families have applied to participate in the
D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and more than 6000 have been fortunate
enough to get a scholarship.
is despicable that we are not doing more to ensure each and every child has
access to the best education for their needs.Kids should not have to remain trapped in schools that do not work for
them when another viable option exists right now - and no child should be
forced to stay in a school that does not meet their needs simply because of
their family's income.
Accordingto last federal evaluation of the program in 2010, 91 percent of children who
used their D.C. opportunity scholarships graduated from high school - 21
percent more than those who sought but did not receive a scholarship and 30
percent higher than D.C. public schools.Subsequent research by the program administrator for 2010 and 2011
showed that 94 percent of scholarship students graduated and 89 percent of
those students enrolled in college.
the future of the OSP – a program that has proven its ability to deliver real
results for students trapped in schools that do not work for their needs – is in
funding exists for approximately 2,000 children, this year's program had just
under 1,600 students participating because of implementation challenges between
the Department of Education and the program administrator.The program is carrying over funds each year
that supporters believe should be used to provide more scholarships for
is most interesting is that the president has gone on the record reiterating
the need to provide low-income students with the access to a better
Duringa speech in Decatur, Georgia in February, President Obama said “the size of
your paycheck shouldn’t determine your child’s future.” We
agree full-heartedly.Each child – no matter
their family’s income or their zip code – should be entitled to the same
opportunities to succeed.So why restrict
a program that is delivering real results for some of the poorest students in
our nation’s capital?
better tomorrow starts with a quality education.We cannot continue to sit back and wait for
poor-performing schools to improve. We
must deliver all children the educational options necessary to open the door to
greater opportunities tomorrow.