SOTU FACT: Expanding Opportunity Key to Fixing Our Schools

CLAIM: “We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education ... Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids.” (President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014)

FACT: The Obama administration has threatened successful school choice programs and stood in the way of House-passed legislation to improve schools and provide job training to out-of-work Americans.

  • The Department of Education currently operates more than 80 K-12 classroom programs.  Many of these programs are duplicative, and several have proved unsuccessful, according to the House Education & the Workforce Committee. 
  • The Obama Administration has repeatedly tried to upend the success of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, rescinding scholarships from eligible students, limiting eligibility, and twice zeroing out the program altogether.  A bipartisan coalition in Congress has successfully fought to keep the program alive.
  • The Justice Department was forced to abandon its attempt to shut down a successful school choice program in Louisiana after coming under fire by Republicans, including House GOP leaders who sent Attorney General Eric Holder a letter expressing their concerns about the administration’s actions. 
  • As the author of the first school choice legislation ever to become law, Speaker Boehner has made clear that “All children in America deserve the opportunity to attend the best schools possible, and giving parents and students as many options as possible through education reform is an important step in strengthening our economy and making life work for more Americans.”

RELEVANT HOUSE-PASSED LEGISLATION:

  • Student Success Act (H.R. 5) eliminates ineffective and duplicative federal programs, consolidates programs that have grown and multiplied over the past 10 years, protects local schools from overreach by Washington bureaucrats, lets school districts identify, recruit and keep the best teachers possible, and allows states to have Title I funds follow students to the public school of their choice, including charter schools. (passed 221-207)
  • Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act (H.R. 1911) takes the politics out of student loans by tying interest rates to the market, making paying for college and getting a good education easier for students and families, and fairer for taxpayers. (passed 392-31)