DC Opportunity Scholarships In Danger Again
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DC OSP) is once again on the chopping block as President Obama has allocated zero funds to the program in his proposed 2013 federal budget. DC OSP, a voucher program for low-income families in the District, has struggled to exist since the President took office in 2009, even though data shows that students participating in the program are gaining 3.1 months of additional learning in reading than students in conventional public schools.
Last year, the President reached a budget deal with Congress to reauthorize DC OSP. The funds are part of a three-sector approach to funding education in the District, distributing $60 million over five years to DC Public Schools, DC charter schools, and this voucher program.
It appears that school choice advocates such as OSP champions Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) breathed a sigh of relief too soon after last year’s agreement was finalized. The Administration is claiming that there are enough funds for students currently in the program. This would mean that no new students would be allowed to participate, a tactic the President has tried in the past. President Obama once said he would support programs that work. DC OSP not only works for the students participating (as the research shows), but also has strong parent satisfaction and support from the community, as well as bi-partisan support in Congress.