Congressional Action Introduced to Save Opportunity Scholarships

A second Statement has come from the Archdiocese of Washington today welcoming legisaltion introduced in Congress today to save the Opportunity Scholarship Program (School Vouchers). Here is the statement followed by some comments in red from very truly yours.

Archdiocese Welcomes Introduction of Congressional Legislation to Continue Opportunity Scholarship Program

The Archdiocese of Washington welcomes legislation introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Preserving D.C. Student Scholarships Act of 2009. This bill would continue the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program and permit low-income students in the District of Columbia to continue to receive a quality education at the school of their choice. Without swift action by Congress, this federally-funded program will end in 2010, putting the children’s education at risk.

This program is a lifesaver for children in the city. Not only has a Congressionally-mandated study found the Opportunity Scholarship Program to be successful in increasing student achievement, but we have seen its positive impact first-hand with students transformed into enthusiastic young scholars,” said Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington.

Opportunity Scholarship students who graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School this year, for example, have been accepted at 30 colleges and universities, including St. John’s University, Syracuse University, Norfolk State and others. This follows the success of the two prior years, when 100 percent of the scholarship students graduated from this competitive high school and were accepted into college.

Of the more than 1,700 students who received Opportunity Scholarships this year, 879 attended Catholic schools in the District. The federally-funded scholarships provide low-income families with up to $7,500 towards tuition and some fees at participating non-public schools. The program was established five years ago as part of the three-sector initiative to strengthen education across the city that also has brought millions of new federal funds to the District’s public and charter schools.

The Archdiocese of Washington supports full and permanent funding of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program as part of comprehensive support for education in the District of Columbia. Visit for more information.

This issue isn’t that hard to understand. If the focus is on the children of Washington DC and what is best for them then Opportunity Scholarships  (School Vouchers)  should continue to be offered. If the focus is on politics and what union leaders and some bureaucrats want then it is the children who will suffer. The DC Public schools are broken and far from being fixed. Some reforms may have begun but things are still terrible. DC Children and their families need options. This is CLEARLY what is best for them. Why don’t we just keep it this simple: do what is best for DC children. Keep the opportunity scholarship program available for DC children and their families.

The following video indicates that the President has not yet taken a position on the matter. Since it was made he has taken a stand against continuing the program. He has proposed that the students currently in the system can continue until they graduate. But no new students will be allowed to enter.  Thus he and others want the program to die. We need to continue to work with the President and Congress to change their minds on this matter.