To view the whole film, which is awesome, visit voicesofschoolchoice.org.
A promising outcome of the landslide victory of the Republicans in the House and significant gains in the Senate, is the likelihood that the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program will rise again. Phased out by the Obama Administration and an antagonistic Democratic Congress, the D.C. OSP offered scholarships for some 1,700 low-income children in D.C., a place with notoriously bad urban public schools, to attend private schools of choice. For many, this was a ticket out of a failing and potentially unsafe public school into a nurturing school that provided hope for a better life. It was a tragedy when it was canceled, and helped cause the closing of up to four D.C. Catholic Schools.
With Speaker Boehner, a Catholic school advocate and a D.C. OSP supporter, at the helm, and Rep. Kline likely to take the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, it looks likely that the OSP will see a new day. I am hopeful, and think it is likely, that it will rise up bigger and better protected than before.
The Washington Times reported on Nov. 9
A spokeswoman for Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican and likely chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said her boss and other House leaders continue to support the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program and intend to pursue its revival.
“Congressman Kline is very focused on restoring the program,” spokeswoman Alexa Marrero said.
She added that presumptive House Speaker-to-be John A. Boehner and Rep. Darrell Issa, incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees D.C. affairs, also “remain strong supporters” of the D.C. voucher program.
The National Review published this article online on Nov. 4
An overlooked group of winners from Tuesday’s landslide election is low-income children living in Washington, D.C. Speaker Boehner is likely to make reviving the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program a priority in the next Congress, setting the stage for an interesting confrontation with President Obama.
Since the 1990s, Boehner has championed policies to expand school choice options for kids trapped in low-performing schools. As the chairman of the Education Committee in 2004, he supported the Bush administration’s successful effort to create a pilot school voucher program in Washington, D.C. He also successfully pressed for school vouchers in the emergency federal aid package to help the many kids who were displaced by the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005.
Beyond his work as a legislator, Boehner has been a tireless advocate for inner-city parochial schools. For years, Boehner has co-sponsored annual charity events with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (and other Democratic leaders), raising millions to help struggling parochial schools in Washington, D.C. The events also have provided a preview into the Republican’s softer side (which the country saw first-hand Tuesday night). He’s known for his tendency to choke up when talking about the need to give poor children a chance to attend better schools, and presides over these charity events with a box of tissues close at hand.
I offered a lot of posts on this issue during the drama over the OSP re-authorization, but here is a favorite, the letter from leaders from the University of Notre Dame to Secretary of Education Duncan and Senator Durbin.