WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- President Obama should immediately direct his allies in Congress to reauthorize the endangered D.C. school voucher program after admitting today that all parents deserve the same educational options that he offers to his own children, according to D.C. Parents for School Choice.
President Obama, in a startling admission on NBC's Today Show, said that all parents deserve opportunities to send their children to excellent schools, that D.C.'s public schools are largely inadequate, and that he wouldn't be able to find a high-quality D.C. public school for his two daughters without "maneuver[ing] to do it."
"The broader problem is for a mom or a dad who are working hard but do not have a lot of connections...they should be getting the same quality education for their kids as everybody else and they don't have that yet," President Obama acknowledged.
"D.C. schools are still failing. President Obama and Secretary Dunan avoided D.C. public schools for their own children, but still callously pulled the plug on the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program," said Virginia Walden Ford, the executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice. "It is outrageous that one of this president's first actions was to eliminate a program that provides low-income children with the best schools they have ever known, only to later take up the mantle of education reform."
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provided $7,500 scholarships for low-income children to attend the same types of private schools that President Obama and Members of Congress select for their children, served more than 3,000 children and increased student graduation rates to 91 percent. The program essentially accomplishes a key goal of the Obama Administration, which is to reduce dropout rates in urban centers.
However, because of White House opposition and legislative malfeasance by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY), and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), the Opportunity Scholarship Program was eliminated and funding for children who remain in private schools remains threatened.
"Parents need immediate options to give their children a lifeline to the future," said Kevin P. Chavous, chairman of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). "It is not too late for President Obama to take action and save the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. If he does not, we pledge to continue the fight for equal opportunity for children—regardless of the obstacles and the risks."
A bipartisan reauthorization bill—sponsored by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) in the House and Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and George Voinovich (R-OH), has yet to receive a vote.
SOURCE D.C. Parents for School Choice