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Home » Press Releases » Lifeline for Low-Income Students Left Out of Omnibus Bill

Lifeline for Low-Income Students Left Out of Omnibus Bill

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News Alert
December 17, 2015

The following statement was issued by Jeanne Allen, Founder and President Emeritus of The Center for Education Reform (CER), on the exclusion of the SOAR Act, which reauthorizes the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), in the FY 2016 Omnibus Bill:

“It’s astounding that Congressional leaders did not include the DCOSP, a program that’s proven successful in providing critical choices for low-income children in our nation’s capital. How adults can deny a program where students graduate at a rate of 93 percent, a rate that’s at least 30 percent higher than DC’s graduation rate, is disheartening to say the least. Congress does not behave this way with any other proven program and yet nearly every year the program is called into doubt because of special interests only interested in preserving the status quo.

“Lawmakers in both the House and Senate worked together to pass a bill, the Scholarships for Results and Opportunity (SOAR) Act, in October that had bipartisan support. The SOAR Act would have reauthorized $60 million overall funding divided equally among three sectors of DC education: the DCOSP, public charter schools, which educate almost half of DC students, and traditional public schools. Failure to reauthorize the SOAR Act jeopardizes the future of DC’s trajectory of expanding parent choice, which has undoubtedly contributed to the overall improvement of the quality of education in our nation’s capital.

“The Center for Education Reform will fight to ensure this lifeboat for a few thousand low-income students in our own backyard is preserved. We look forward to working with Congress on ensuring federal funds are invested in ways that create and expand opportunities for our nation’s future, our students.”