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A Letter from the National Coalition for Parental Choice

The Honorable John Boehner                                   The Honorable John Kline

Speaker                                                                 U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. House of Representatives                                  Washington, D.C.  20515

Washington, DC 20515

   

The Honorable Jason Chaffetz                                  The Honorable Todd Rokita

U.S. House of Representatives                                  U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515                                            Washington, D.C.  20515

   

The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen                      The Honorable Dan Lipinski

U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives 

Washington, D.C. 20515                                              Washington, D.C.  20515

   

The Honorable Luke Messer

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Congressmen:

We are writing to urge Committee and House support for HR 10, the Scholarships for Results and Opportunity Act of 2015. This bill will reauthorize and strengthen the highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP).   

2015 marks the 11th year for this incredible program, which has been an educational lifeline for nearly 6,200 children from very low-income D.C. families since it began in the 2004-2005 school year. This is illustrated by the following facts:

Better Educational Outcomes

  • 90+ percent graduation rate for students using a scholarship and near 90 percent college enrollment Graduation rates for children using a scholarship are 30 points higher than D.C. public schools

Serving Children Most In Need

  • Average income for participating families is less than $22,000 per year 
  • Eighty-eight percent of participating children would otherwise be zoned for a school in need of improvement  
  • Ninety-seven percent of participating children are African-American and Hispanic  

Strong Demand

  • More than 16,000 families have applied to participate in the OSP since its inception
  • Many of the low-income families on charter school waiting lists want access to the OSP

The OSP is an example of funding what works in education because it is a program that has demonstrably improved educational outcomes for children from low-income families. According to the last U.S. Department of Education Institute for Education Sciences (IES) report (2010), 91 percent of children who used their Opportunity scholarships graduated from high school, 21 percent higher than those who applied, but did not receive a scholarship. There was also a statistically significant increase in reading scores according to a 2013 summary article published by the first OSP federal evaluation team in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, a top scientific peer reviewed publication.  

The District of Columbia presents a remarkable story of the power of parental choice with families afforded the opportunity to choose from traditional public schools, charter schools and the OSP. This has strengthened the city’s education system and improved educational outcomes for students. Maintaining and fully funding all educational options is critically important for D.C. families, especially low-income families served by the OSP. No child should be denied a quality education simply because of their zip code or family income. We thank you for sponsoring HR 10 to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and urge swift Committee and House approval.

Sincerely,

Agudath Israel of America

Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund

American Federation for Children

American Federation for Children Growth Fund

Archdiocese of Washington

Arkansas Parent Network

Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)

Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)

Center for Education Reform (CER)

Council for American Private Education (CAPE)

D.C. CAPE

D.C. Catholic Conference

Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS)

Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Foundation for Excellence in Education

Foundation for Florida’s Future

Georgia Center for Opportunity 

Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (HCREO)

Institute for Justice

Institute for Quality Education

Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education

Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education

Louisiana Federation for Children

Maryland CAPE

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

New York Campaign for Achievement Now (NYCAN)

Parents/Partners for Educational Freedom in North Carolina 

School Choice Ohio

School Choice Wisconsin

Step Up for Students 

Students First

Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Thomas Jefferson Institute



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