The Senate is expected to vote on the $410 billion Omnibus bill today, which includes a provision that would effectively end the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program – potentially disrupting the lives of more than 1,700 scholarship students while sending a signal that school choice is not welcome in Washington.
The scholarship program, which has dramatically changed the lives of the students involved, provides scholarships of up to $7,500 per student to attend a private school of their choice. With an average scholarship being less than $6,000, enrolled children are getting a safe and effective education for what may be a mere quarter of the per-pupil cost in the D.C. public school system. Andrew Coulson estimates D.C. public school per-pupil expenditures to be more than $28,000 for the current school year. Coulson notes:
According to the official study of the DC voucher program, the average voucher amount is less than $6,000. That is less than ONE QUARTER what DC is spending per pupil on education. And yet, academic achievement in the voucher program is at least as good as in the District schools, and voucher parents are much happier with the program than are public school parents.
In fact, since the average income of participating voucher families is about $23,000, DC is currently spending about as much per pupil on education as the vouchers plus the family income of the voucher recipients COMBINED.
Scholarship students, however, are not standing idly by. DC Opportunity Scholarship students make an impassioned appeal to President Obama in this video, and Obama himself is shown as a school choice success story here.