Blocking Children’s Path to a Better Future

  • Omnibus Spending Bill Eliminates Opportunity: As it stands now, the House omnibus bill will eliminate the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP). Since the program’s inception in 2004, the DCOSP has given thousands of low-income students in the District of Columbia access to a better education.
  • For Children in Need: About 1,700 children currently attend private school using opportunity scholarships. The average household income of a DCOSP family is $23,000.
  • Safe and Effective Learning Environments: DCOSP has yielded positive results for its participants. Studies show higher parent satisfaction with their child’s school safety and learning environment, and test scores are moving in the right direction as students regain ground lost in their previous under-performing schools.
  • Traded in for Violence and Low-Performance: Eliminating DCOSP would take students who are flourishing in a safe and effective learning environment and send them back into a public school system that ranks 51st nationally in student achievement, where barely half of all students graduate high school, and where one in every eight students reports being assaulted or injured with a deadly weapon.
  • Yet Costs Less: DCOSP costs less per student than traditional federal programs and provides a better learning experience. The $13 million cost of DCOSP is a drop in the bucket compared to the $68 billon in the federal budget for the Department of Education. The stimulus bill alone added $140 billion over two years to the Department of Education, including $15 billion for Pell grants, which support school choice for upper-income college students.
  • Something All Should Agree On: Nationally, school choice policies like the DCOSP have attracted bipartisan support. Fourteen states in total offer students a choice in education, including Louisiana, where a voucher bill sponsored by Democrats was signed into law in 2008. State legislative chambers controlled by Democrats in Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have approved school choice bills in recent years.

Choice for the Fortunate Few

  • Congress Has a Choice: A recent Heritage Foundation survey found that Members of Congress have sent their children to private schools at rates three to four times the national average. Yet many Members who practice school choice oppose policies that would allow low-income families to do the same.
  • The President Is a School Choice Success Story: President Barack Obama, as a child, received an “opportunity” scholarship to attend a prestigious private school in Hawaii.
  • The President Exercises Parental Choice: Obama has made the wise choice to send his daughters to a leading D.C. private school rather than the unsafe and low-performing D.C. public schools. Why not allow others to make the same smart choice for their children?