Yesterday, I received notice that the Obama Administration’s 2013 budget cancels out the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program(DCOSP).
I was reminded of how happy the families in the District were last April when they learned that the program had been reauthorized due to House Speaker John Boehner’s (R–OH) determination and the parents’ courage to fight for it. As I left DC in July 2011 and moved back to my hometown of Arkansas, I felt confident that the children and families I love would continue to have access to this wonderful program for five more years, yet deep down I worried that what we learned yesterday could happen.
The advocate in me is angry, the mother in me is disheartened, and the citizen in me is saddened that once again this Administration has chosen to stand with special interests groups and not with the children who need him to stand for them. We have seen children thrive in the schools their parents have chosen through the DCOSP. We know that the children who participate have a better chance of graduating from high school, and we know that their lives will change in wonderful ways.
For two years, District parents and supporters from around the country fought for this program. I had the honor of standing beside parents who only wanted what was best for their children and made incredible sacrifices in the face of often cruel and thoughtless acts and remarks. At the end of the day, they, like most American parents, were fighting so their children would have the chance to be educated in the schools of their choice, schools that would give them the tools they need to become the future leaders and workers of America.
The victory and those elected officials who never, ever gave up gave us hope for the future of education in the nation’s capital. It was joyous, and it made us feel that as citizens, we were finally heard and that our children would be the beneficiaries of an excellent education.
When I heard that the 2013 budget could put us in the position to have to continue the fight, it was devastating. It is only fair and right that this nation’s children are given every chance possible. The future of our country depends on how we educate our children. It’s about families being able to choose quality schools that serve their children best. I hope and pray that President Obama and his advisors will take a look at the faces of the children and families who are served by DCOSP and make sure that this program continues.