House of Representatives Votes to Continue School Choice in D.C.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today the House of Representatives passed the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, which reauthorizes the Washington, D.C. Opportunity scholarship program. The legislation has the support of leaders in both parties – including the Democratic Mayor of the District of Columbia – and it was approved by a vote of 224-181. President Obama has proposed killing the program, which allows poor families in the District access to the school of their choice – fully 97 percent of participants in the program are black or Hispanic. For families whose children are stuck in failing schools, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has been a great benefit, allowing their kids a chance at a quality of education that would be otherwise unavailable to them.
Rachel Campos-Duffy, National Spokesperson of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“School choice equalizes opportunities so that poor and minority children are not disadvantaged by their family's income or zip code when it comes to their education. It’s encouraging to finally see bipartisan support for this issue and for the successful program in the District of Columbia. It's scandalous that President Obama, who sends his own daughters to private schools, continues to oppose an initiative that is doing so much good for underprivileged children in Washington, D.C. The LIBRE Initiative continues to advocate for all parents, and against elitist policies that limit opportunity only for the wealthy and well-connected.
Around the country, school choice programs are delivering tremendous benefits for Latino families. Across 27 states, Hispanics who are English Language Learners (ELL) or that live in poverty make larger learning gains in charter schools than in traditional public schools. In 2013 these gains were the estimated equivalent of about 50 additional days of learning in reading and 43 more days of learning in math. Our communities are diverse and each of them has specific needs. The federal government must stop trying to make education a one-size-fits-all policy, and trust parents to choose what’s best for their child. It’s clear that when parents choose, students win.”