Following last week’s near miss on a government shutdown, members of Congress have reached an agreement to fund the government through September 30, the end of the current fiscal year. While we appear to have fended off most of the harmful policy riders that undermine our rights, our health, and our democracy, the funding package includes a perennial right-wing favorite: the D.C. private school voucher program. Not only does the package include funding for the program this year, but it also authorizes future program operations. A vote is expected early this week.
Studies have consistently shown that the D.C. voucher program has not improved educational outcomes and suffers from management and accountability failures. In fact, just days prior to Congress reaching a funding agreement, the latest Department of Education study revealed new evidence that the D.C. voucher program hurts student achievement.
People For the American Way and African American Ministers In Action were among the 62 signers of a March letter from the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE) opposing D.C. voucher reauthorization based on six critical concerns:
- Our public schools have great value, but they are undermined by private school vouchers.
- The D.C. voucher program does not improve academic achievement.
- The D.C. voucher program lacks sufficient oversight.
- Many participating schools are of poor quality.
- The D.C. voucher program threatens civil rights and undermines constitutional protections.
- The D.C. voucher program does not provide parents real choice.
Vouchers are doing a disservice to D.C. students. PFAW will continue to oppose the D.C. program and other voucher schemes that undermine public education.