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Why D.C. Parents NEED School Vouchers

In 4th Grade, Shirley-Ann Tomdio’s life changed forever when she was accepted into the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), which allowed her to transfer from a failing D.C. public school to Sacred Heart, a private Catholic school. Shirley, the daughter of two Cameroon, African immigrants, used the voucher for nine years.

Shirley testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on May 14, 2015 at Archbishop Carroll High School in Northeast D.C. to discuss the possibility of reauthorizing the DCOSP.

“In 2009, I graduated Sacred Heart School as the valedictorian and took my Opportunity Scholarship across town to Georgetown Visitation (Prep School)!” Shirley told federal lawmakers on Thursday. “At Visitation, I made Second Honors my first two years and First Honors in my third and fourth year. I was a decorated member of the track and field team, co-editor of our school’s Art and Literary magazine, a cheerleader for our school’s pep rally, and the Secretary and Treasurer of the Black Women’s Society. In May 2013, I walked across the stage and accepted my diploma.”

The voucher program for low-income children was enacted a year after congress passed the D.C. School Choice Incentive Act of 2003. The program has been extraordinarily successful for the District’s most disadvantaged children. Consider:

The scholarship program has been under assault since President Obama took office. The program ceased to exist in the first year he took office, but came back in 2011 through passage of the bipartisan SOAR Act. Every single year since then, his Administration has proposed to

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Call To Restore DC Vouchers

“Congress to restore D.C. school vouchers”
by Roxanne Turnbull
Washington Examiner
June 18, 2012

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday that they intend to restore funding for a school voucher program in the District that President Obama wants to cut.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows low-income students to attend private schools, “has provided a lifeline to many disadvantaged kids in the District, and I hope that Congress will fully fund the program this year,” said Lieberman.

While Senate and House leaders agreed to restore the funding that Obama sought to cut, they haven’t decided how much money to provide. The House wants to restore $20 million. The Senate proposes $13.5 million. Both versions would lift the cap on the number of participating students imposed by Obama.

Obama’s proposed cut would not have eliminated the scholarship program, but it would have reduced the number of students who could participate, said Ed Davies of the D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corp.

The scholarship program now pays to send about 1,800 students to private schools. Of the nearly 1,200 students who applied this year, 522 are eligible for scholarships if there is funding.

“I think it restores a lot of confidence for the families,” Davies said of the congressional efforts to restore funding. “It also will serve as an advertisement for families interested next year.”

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