Passage of reauthorization bill is important step towards reviving school choice in the nation's capital
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The highly-successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is one step closer to enrolling additional students today, after the US House of Representatives passed legislation that would reauthorize the OSP and give thousands of low-income children hope for a better future.
The vote on HR 471, the Scholarship Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, passed in the House by a 225 - 195 margin. The measure, sponsored by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), calls for the restoration and expansion of a program which the Administration and Congress decided against reauthorizing two years ago despite evidence showing that 91 percent of OSP participants graduate, reading scores for participants have improved significantly over their D.C. public school peers, and parental satisfaction rates are extremely high.
"We are pleased that Members of Congress joined Speaker Boehner in making the right decision and are finally giving educational opportunities to families that need them most, but the work doesn't stop now," said Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice. "Now, we must hold our Senators -- and ultimately, the President -- accountable to the standard set by the House. All students deserve the chance that is afforded to the most fortunate among us."
The OSP allows low-income parents to use vouchers to send their children to qualifying private schools in the District. Over 3,300 children have already benefitted from the program since it began in 2004. The SOAR Act will now receive consideration in the U.S. Senate, where companion legislation is sponsored by Senators Joseph Lieberman, Susan Collins, Dianne Feinstein, and Lamar Alexander. If passed in the Senate, it will be sent to the president's desk for approval.
"Speaker Boehner's unwavering support in this fight cannot be understated," Walden Ford said. "We need more leaders who will stand on the side of children, and not special interests or the status quo."
SOURCE D.C. Parents for School Choice