AFC questions Obama Administration effort to cut D.C. Opportunity Scholarship funding

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 2, 2015) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, criticized President Obama’s decision to once again significantly cut funding for the highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) in his Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

The President’s budget, released today, includes $3.2 million for the D.C. OSP, which solely covers the program evaluation and administrative costs. The President’s $4 trillion budget neglects a demonstrably successful education program specifically designed to help children in low-income D.C. families gain equal access to schools of their parents’ choice.

“This budget prevents low-income D.C. families from accessing the educational options that work best for their child,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel for the American Federation for Children. “Yet again, we see the President attempting to phase out this successful program – a program that lives up to the Administration’s stated desire to fund what works in education.”

Since its creation in 2004, the D.C. OSP has received almost 15,000 applications and awarded 5,900 scholarships to children in low-income District of Columbia families. The program has a better than 90 percent graduation rate – 30 percentage points higher than D.C. Public Schools – and nearly 90 percent of those graduates enroll in college.

“The Department of Education and the program administrator should be making every effort to use all new and previously appropriated funds to renew existing scholarships and award new scholarships to all eligible families who apply. With thousands of families on charter school waiting lists and closures of D.C. public schools in areas of the city with thousands of eligible families, every effort should be made to make families aware of this important and successful option,” Chavous said.

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American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.

Kevin P. Chavous is executive counsel and a founding board member for the American Federation for Children, an affiliate of the Alliance for School Choice. A noted attorney, author, and national school reform leader. A former member of the Council of the District of Columbia and a former chairman of D.C.’s Education Committee, Chavous was responsible for enacting numerous education reforms in D.C. Chavous is chair emeritus of the Democrats for Education Reform and a former chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options