Compromise on D.C. vouchers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Students in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program would continue to receive vouchers for private school tuition for at least one year and possibly until they graduate from high school under a compromise suggested by the Obama administration, according to The Washington Post.

The president will propose setting aside money for all 1,716 current recipients, but would not allow new students to join the program, administration officials said, according to The Post.

The voucher program has been in the news since Congress voted in March to cut its funding after the 2009-2010 academic year, according to The Post. The issue is contentious, the article noted; school choice advocates say the program gives poor children a chance to attend better schools, but teachers unions and other education groups active in the Democratic Party call it a drain on public education.

The White House proposal would be a gradual phaseout, The Post reported. Before Congress revoked the money, about 200 students had been awarded scholarships that were then rescinded, according to The Post.

School choice advocates rallied in Washington, D.C., this week and called on lawmakers to fully restore the program, The Post reported. Some cited a recent survey that found that 38 percent of members of Congress have sent their children to private schools and 20 percent of lawmakers themselves attended private schools, almost twice the rate of the general public, according to the article.

The Washington Post, “Obama offers D.C. voucher compromise,” May 7, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “A New Direction for Education Reform,” July 2, 2001