- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Supporters of vouchers for D.C. families won Round 1 of the ongoing battle to continue the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which the Obama administration tried to shoot down.

The push came Friday by way of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which renewed the program despite snickers from a majority of D.C. Council members. “Providing every possible opportunity for students to receive the best education available ensures that the next generation is on the pathway to success,” as Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, explained earlier this week.

How right he is.

The vote followed a March 7th letter that eight D.C. lawmakers addressed to Mr. Chaffetz that said one of the reasons they oppose the voucher program is because the private schools the children attend are out of their purview.
Sniff, sniff.

As Mr. Chafftez said, vouchers provide parents a choice. If families want to pull their children out of the voucher program, they can.

What voucher critics really and truly oppose is that parents are no longer beholden to public schools.

The re-authorization of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR) extends the school voucher program through 2022. Begun by Congress in 2004, it allots federal funds to cover tuition for about 1,100 poor students. It allows up to $8,452 a year to follow children in grades into the schoolhouses, while children in grades 9-12 can receive up to $12,679. Many recipients attend religious schools, including Calvary Christian Academy and Archbishop Carroll High, both of which are in Northeast.

The vote came after a visit last week by President Trump and daughter Ivanka, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott to St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando. About 300 of the 350 students at St. Andrew receive vouchers and other subsidies.

While there, Mr. Trump urged Democrats and Republicans “to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children.”

“These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them,” the president said.

The D.C. voucher bill now goes to the full House.

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