Boehner, Lieberman Announce Agreement With Obama Administration to Fully Implement D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) today announced that an agreement had been reached with the Department of Education to ensure that the highly-successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) is fully implemented in accordance with the law signed last year to renew and expand the program.

“For eight years, this scholarship program has empowered low-income parents to choose the best learning environment for their children,” Speaker Boehner said.  “Thousands of families have taken advantage of this scholarship program to give their children an opportunity to succeed in life, and there’s strong evidence that it’s both effective and cost-effective.  I’m pleased that an agreement has been reached to expand the program, consistent with the law already on the books.”

“Last year the president signed into law the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act to support education reform for District of Columbia public and charter schools, and to continue the highly successful Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) which offers disadvantaged students in the District of Columbia the opportunity to escape failing schools and get a quality education,” said Senator Lieberman.  “I am grateful that we have reached an agreement with the Department to fully implement the SOAR Act and the OSP program.  This program provides a lifeline to many needy children.”

NOTE: After President Obama chose to zero out funding for the program in his budget proposal, contradicting the law he signed last year, Boehner and Lieberman sent a letter to the president in March pressing him and the administration to reverse course and expedite full implementation of the program.  The agreement announced today ensures the following, consistent with the law the president signed:

  • There will be no cap on enrollment in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. 
  • Parents seeking to renew their child’s scholarship can continue to submit their applications and they will be notified as soon as possible.
  • Parents whose children don’t currently participate in the program may apply for a new scholarship, and they will be notified as soon as their applications are processed.