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  • The Continuing Resolution Supports School Choice

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    Within the much-debated continuing resolution—an appropriations bill to fund the federal government through September 2011—is a bit of hope for students in the nation’s capital. The spending bill would remove language inserted in 2009 by Senator Richard Durbin (D–IL) prohibiting new students from receiving scholarships through the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP). Despite its success, the program has been hanging by a lifeline for the last two years.

    Since 2003, the scholarships have helped thousands of low-income students escape the failing D.C. public schools by giving them the opportunity to attend private schools of their choice. Yet, despite this program’s great track record—displayed by higher graduation rates and reading scores of students, as well as by overwhelming parental satisfaction and community support—the Obama Administration stood by as the program was placed on life support. As a result, D.C. families have been left uncertain about their children’s educational futures.

    Now, the House is attempting to reverse the course of the previous legislation via the continuing resolution. Included in the bill is language that would restore funding for the program and make funds “available to new students, without regard to whether any student received a scholarship in any prior school year,” effectively lifting the prohibition on new students entering the program.

    And with all the talk of getting debt under control and using taxpayer dollars efficiently, the DCOSP should not be overlooked. While D.C. public schools spend approximately $18,000 per-pupil annually, D.C. Opportunity Scholarships amount to less than half the price at $7,500 per scholarship. While 91 percent of DCOSP students graduate, only 70 percent of their peers with similar characteristics complete high school. Patrick J. Wolf of the University of Arkansas reports:

    Each additional high school graduate saves the nation an average of $260,000 as a result of higher taxable earnings and lower demands for social services. … The 449 additional high school graduates due to the operation of the OSP will save our nation approximately $116,625,600 over the long run.

    Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–OH) has also introduced a bill to restore and expand the program.

    Policies that increase educational opportunity and improve education for the nation’s children—and, no less, do so in a fiscally responsible way—are a win–win for everybody. Shutting the door on the DCOSP would only mean closing doors to a bright future for so many of the nation’s children.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to The Continuing Resolution Supports School Choice

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "And with all the talk of getting debt under control and using taxpayer dollars efficiently, the DCOSP should not be overlooked. While D.C. public schools spend approximately $18,000 per-pupil annually, D.C. Opportunity Scholarships amount to less than half the price at $7,500 per scholarship. "

      I am not sure if this legislation provides federal funds ( I do not see why it needs to ) but if it does not – this is a breath of fresh air! Just a law that allows people real choice in education – without robbing the American Taxpayer and without needless and pointless bureauracracy. This is what congress is for. Now let us appropreately apply the commerse clause. SInce this is available for DC – we need to level the playing feild for the rest of the country. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE SCHOOL CHOICE!

    2. Jim Delaney says:

      Finally! In this DC panoply of insanity, Progressive recklessness and cyncial self-serving politics, a return to common sense!

      We still have much work before us, but little things like this give me confidence we can get there–eventually.

    3. Ben, Pittsburgh,Pa says:

      Excellent!! Just another example of the failure of the over subsidized public school system. More competition is truly the answer. Scott Walker the Gov of WI has it right, public sector unions should be abolished.

    4. Kevin H, college par says:

      How many students are helped through DCSOP? How many children of DC are able to get vouchers? Your report shows about 3,500 kids in 6 years, is that correct? For the huge numbers of struggling children in DC, helping 600 kids a year doesn't seem like it's enough.

      I definitely applaud the work it has done with the small number fo students, but i'd much ratehr see work done to improve the public educations system in DC as a whole and not spend all this money to help less than 1% of the kids in DC.

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    6. Bobbie says:

      Well Mr. H, there's rarely accountability in government. Those who stand up to do the right thing are vilified. The democrats are overly sensitive to take rational direction from anybody else as their performance clearly shows. It's in the control of government that needs to be returned to the parents or handled by those of integrity. For now we can thank those of integrity, Mr. Boehner.

    7. Harry Snyder Tempera says:

      It's hard to imagine any more cynical attitude than that of Sen. Durbin. towards a program which has had such successful results. Or why he would harbor such an attitude. Allowing a percentage of D.C. children to have an advantage over the others sounds "unfair" but the children of the "quality" (The wealthy, Members of Congress, the Judiciary, bureaucrats, etc.) have an advantage. A small percentage of middle- and "poverty" class children having a good education would, I believe, be a good thing, too.

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