More than seven out of ten registered voters in the District of Columbia support the federally funded DC Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides tuition scholarships for low-income students to attend private schools… Seventy-four percent say they either “strongly favor” or “somewhat favor” the scholarship program and a majority (56 percent) support expanding the program to provide scholarships to all children who have applied.
The results also indicate that 68 percent oppose ending the program. Congress earlier this year cut funding to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program and the U.S. Department of Education has closed the program to new applicants, and rescinded scholarships awarded to 216 families for the upcoming school year.
Support for school choice in the District of Columbia should come as no surprise. Studies clearly show the students participating in the voucher program have made “statistically significant” improvement in reading compared to peers who applied but didn’t get scholarships. And earlier this month, the DC City Council sent a letter to the Obama administration calling on them to reverse their decision to take scholarships away from the 216 children who were recently admitted to the program.
Make no mistake: the Obama administration and Secretary Duncan are intimately familiar with the benefits of school choice. Growing up in Hawaii, President Obama attended a private school. Growing up first in Chicago, and now in Washington, Obama’s two daughters attended and still attend a private school. Growing up in Chicago, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended a private school. And when he moved to D.C. Secretary Duncan chose to live in Arlington, where good schools for his children are assumed.
When it comes to their own educations and their own children, it is very clear that the Obama administration knows what works. Let’s hope they change their policies and give the same opportunity to D.C. families.