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Tell Your Congressman to Vote YES on H.R. 471 to Reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program

Call Congress and take action!

by: freedom works | published: 03 29, 2011

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--H.R. 471 the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR) introduced by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), the bill would reauthorize the Washington, DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Congress ended this program in 2009 despite the overwhelming success of the cost-savings program. It is urgent to bring back the DC scholarship program for the sake of DC students and taxpayers.

--The Washington, DC public school system is the most expensive yet produces the worst results in the nation. Taxpayers pay an average of $28,170 per pupil annually, but only 12 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in reading and only 8 percent in math. Because our the education system rations which school students are allowed to attended based on the street address of their parents, many poor families have no choice but to enroll their children in a failing local public school. The DC

--Opportunity Scholarship Program gave students a voucher which enabled them to attend the school of their choice. It’s important to note that, rather than spending new money, vouchers empower students as consumers. They allow students to take some of the dollars that would have been spent on their education at the local school they would have been forced to attend, and free them to choose their own school where those dollars will instead pay for their education.

--FreedomWorks Chairman and former Majority Leader Dick Armey lead the fight for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program for many years. When the DC Scholarship Program was finally passed in 2004, it gave thousands of DC families hope to send their child to a better school. In fact, the program was so popular that were four applicants for every one available slot.

--The program was cost effective since it only cost an average of $6,620 per student—one-fourth of the cost that the district pays for K-12 schooling. The short-lived program was also responsible for increasing student achievement and parental satisfaction. The Department of Education found that students who came into the DC Voucher Program when it first started had a 19 month advantage in reading compared to their public school counterparts.

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