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Erasing D.C. school success

Dec 24, 2015 by

The omnibus failed to fund reform that works


Congress’ passage of the fiscal 2016 omnibus bill last week included a litany of policy initiatives, but failure to attach a critical education act, supporting proven education reform in Washington, D.C., has city educators, parents and students wondering where schools fall on legislators’ agenda. 

The Scholarships for Results and Opportunity (SOAR) Act promises to preserve Washington’s diverse and thriving education choice environment, but is set to expire. The bill, passed in October with bipartisan support, allocated up to $20 million in improvement funds for traditional public schools and public charter schools in the city. It also reauthorized the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), allotting up to $20 million for vouchers for low-income students to attend private schools. 

Evidence of the success of the three-sector education and federal partnership had proponents expecting the bill would be attached to the $1.1 trillion omnibus, guaranteeing a five-year reauthorization. 

Currently reauthorized through 2016, annual funding for SOAR needs to be appropriated each year and students’ families have highlighted the need for long-term continuation.

A letter signed by more than 500 District school parents stated: “The SOAR Act is an example of what works in education. When we can choose the best public, charter, or private school for our children, there are not only more opportunities to engage in their education, but also for them to achieve greater academic excellence. These outcomes strengthen the city’s education system as a whole.”

Source: ASHLEY BATEMAN: Erasing D.C. school success – Washington Times

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