Yesterday the Appropriations Committee approved funding for the 1,900 District of Columbia low income school children who receive scholarships to attend the school of their choice. Heritage Director of Domestic Policy Studies Jennifer Marshall highlights some of the voices of the families benefiting from this program:

Ayesha McKinney is just thankful for simple things — like clean bathrooms for her daughters. “There’s no reason that children should have to be in an unclean, unsafe environment, because it’s very difficult for them to learn.” Not surprisingly, a recent evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program suggests that parents’ most pressing initial motivation to seek alternatives to DC public schools was safety.

Wendy Cunningham chose Georgetown Day School because it offered arts, music and theater. “I’ve always had a very, very strong passion for art,” her daughter Jordan explains. Since the D.C. public schools had removed art from the curriculum, she settled for doodling on worksheets during class. Now she has all kinds of art resources — charcoals, pastels and acrylic paints — as well as access to classes at the Corcoran.

Pamela Battle wanted a school that would challenge her academically gifted sons: “When you give a child a different environment, a different opportunity, they act different. They want more for themselves when they can see that it’s a possibility they can get more. My kids are talking about going to college.”