Just over 2 miles from the U.S. Capitol lives Kariah Butler, a 10-year-old girl being raised by a single mom. Looking for a way out of the neighborhood public school, which last year graduated less than 50 percent of its class, Kariah’s mother signed her up for the federal school voucher program.
Called the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, it launched in 2004 to serve low-income students in the nation’s capital by awarding them vouchers to attend a private school of their choice. Spending a fraction per student compared to public schools, this school choice program has increased graduation rates by 21 percentage points.
Under the new Republican-led administration, school choice advocates are hopeful that efforts like the D.C Opportunity Scholarship Program won’t just survive, but perhaps even expand. On Thursday, President Donald Trump lent his support to the movement and issued an official proclamation declaring Jan. 22-28, 2017, as National School Choice Week.
The Daily Signal traveled to the Anacostia section of Washington to meet Kariah and see what life is like over the bridge, where school choice is helping, one child at a time.