The editors of the Washington Post wasted no time in reacting to the failure by Congress to include a five year reauthorization of the Opportunity Scholarship Program in last week’s $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. The also did not hide how they feel:
“However, the failure to include a measure that would have safeguarded millions of dollars in funding for public education in the city is both disappointing and exasperating. For that, the District can thank its supposed allies on the hill, the Democrats.”
The editors also point out what the Soar Act containing the OSP has meant to the District since it contains equal amounts of money for private school vouchers, the traditional schools, and charters. They state:
“The program was created in 2004 as part of a three-pronged investment in D.C. public education that funds the vouchers and provides extra allocations of federal dollars to the public school system and public charter schools. Indeed, the three-sector federal approach has brought more than $600 million to D.C. schools, with traditional public schools receiving $239 million, public charter schools $195 million and the voucher program $183 million.”
But the most important reason that the OSP should be continued has nothing to do with cash. Affluent families already have school choice. They can reside in an area with high performing public schools or elect to pay for a private education for their children. Those living in poverty, the very people served by this program, do not have these options. We should as a society extend the same right to those on the low end of the economic scale. It is the only moral thing to do.