DC Students Win

By Lisa Telliga
Yesterday was a great victory for students and parents in Washington, D.C. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 10 to reauthorize the highly successful DC Opportunity Scholarship program (DC OSP).
Over the last 11 years, 6,200 students from low-income families have benefited from this outstanding program. With an average household income of $22,000, DC OSP has brought choice and opportunities to students that would otherwise be trapped in failing schools because of the zip code they live in.
This program enjoys strong support from the community and when you look at the results such as a 90 percent graduation rate, it’s evident that this is a prime example of funding what works in education.
Yesterday, H.R. 10 was up for debate on the House floor. During this time there was a lot of back and forth on the merits of the program and sometimes it lost sight of the overall point- the children who benefit from it.
However, the bill sponsor and long-time champion, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) brought it back into perspective with an emotional speech:
You know, for years, the government was promising the moon to DC families, and spending to the moon essentially. But nothing changed.  So we said, if we’re going to support public schools and charter schools, let’s also give low-income families the chance to apply for scholarships to attend the school of their choice.  Let’s give them that power.
Because if you have the resources, you already have school choice.  You can send your kids to whatever school you want.  You can move house and home to do that…
Yes, this issue is personal to me, and it has been for a long time.  But frankly, it ought to be personal to everyone in this chamber.  Those of us who work here, who make a good living here, owe something to the kids in this city.                   We owe the kids in this city a chance – a fighting chance.
These children and families are more than the numbers that get cited when this program is discussed. While it’s great to talk about those numbers, the real winners are children who have been given a chance to succeed and better their circumstances with a high quality education.


To read all of Boehner’s speech and view video:  http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/house-backs-boehner-bill-renew-dc-school-program


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