March 28, 2011
Last year, President Obama was asked if his daughters, who attend an elite private school, would have received a similar education at a District of Columbia public school. His answer? “I’ll be blunt with you: The answer is no, right now.”
Washington parent Gamel New recently told the Washington Post “Everybody has their choice of where to send their kids. That’s [Obama's] choice. If I could afford it, I probably would, too.”
Unfortunately, everyone does not have that choice. But with the establishment of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, some parents in the nation’s capital finally have the option to send their children to better schools.
Heritage Foundation education expert Lindsey Burke explains why conservatives should take a stand on this issue,
Many low-income parents who were previously unable to access a safe and effective education for their children found themselves in a position to go directly to a private school they felt would best meet the needs of their children. Parents were now empowered to do what so many families who can afford it so often do: They were able to go from school to school, inspecting the premises, inquiring about the school’s academic record and interviewing principals and teachers.
Yet despite these successes, liberal legislators have denied funding for the program in next year’s budget. Pressure from teachers unions prompted them to phase the program out, despite its proven track record.
While 40 percent of Congressmen choose to send their children to private school, that choice would be denied to students in one of the most dangerous and underperforming school districts in the United States.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R–OH) has introduced new legislation, known as the SOAR Act, that would not only reauthorize the scholarship program but also expand it to give more children the opportunity for school choice. During the State of the Union address, Boehner invited Heritage education experts Jennifer Marshall and Lindsey Burke to join scholarship recipients in the Speaker’s Box.
The House is set to vote on the SOAR Act this week.