Grassroots momentum continues to build for renewing the DC school choice program, which makes K-12 education more affordable and accessible for children across our nation’s capital. In letters to congressional leaders, two key organizations have joined a growing coalition supporting the SOAR Act (H.R. 10):
- The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the leading organization supporting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs): “There are two TMCF member schools in the Washington, D.C. area: Howard University and University of the District of Columbia. While our primary focus is higher education, we cannot ignore the direct impact that a quality K-12 education has on student achievement in college. The SOAR Act makes quality education options more affordable and accessible for low-income students, especially students of color in our nation’s capital. . . . We support this legislation and would like to work with you and your colleagues to see it become law.”
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education: “H.R. 10 will reauthorize and strengthen this highly successful program that benefits all families who have students in public, charter, and private schools in DC. 2016 marks the twelfth year for this impactful program, which has been an educational lifeline for nearly 6,400 children from low-income DC families since it began in the 2004-2005 school year. … The OSP has demonstrably improved educational outcomes for children in low-income families.”
Earlier this month, the SOAR Act—which was introduced by former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)—picked up the support of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and a majority of the DC city council, who wrote: “We urge you to ensure that the SOAR Reauthorization Act becomes law before the end of this Congress.”
And last week, the Washington Post editorial board called for the program’s renewal, arguing that “The scholarships provide a lifeline to low-income and underserved families, giving them the school choice that more affluent families take as a given. And because the program results in more federal money for D.C. public education and not less — another myth advanced by opponents — it’s time for Congress to act.”
As Speaker Ryan said, “This initiative embodies the American Idea—the notion that the condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life.” That’s exactly why we must act to help ensure our children receive the quality education they deserve.