WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today introduced bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the groundbreaking Washington, DC school choice program.
The Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act, H.R. 10, reauthorizes the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides low-income students, many of whom attend persistently underperforming public schools, with the opportunity to receive a scholarship to attend a private school of their parent’s choice. The program was established in 2004 during Boehner’s tenure as chairman of the Education & the Workforce Committee, and renewed in 2011 despite the Obama administration’s efforts to eliminate it altogether. H.R. 10 improves and reauthorizes the program through 2021.
“There is only one program in America where the federal government allows parents to choose the best schools for their kids, it is right here in Washington, DC, and it is working,” Boehner said. “This program gets the kind of results parents dream of for their kids. It is a model for how we can break the status quo that deprives too many students of a great education. This program was established with bipartisan support, and I am proud that we have bipartisan support for its renewal.”
Since its inception, Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) students have had consistently high graduation rates, including 90 percent for last year’s 12th grade students. In addition, for the last school year, 88 percent of OSP students went on to enroll in a two or four-year college/university, and 85 percent of OSP parents were happy with their children’s school. Of this year’s OSP students, 87.4 percent would otherwise be enrolled at a school that the government has identified as in need of improvement.
Original co-sponsors of the SOAR Act include Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), John Kline (R-MN), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Luke Messer (R-IN), and Todd Rokita (R-IN).
As Speaker, Boehner has regularly invited students from DC’s inner-city Catholic schools to attend major events at the Capitol, including the State of the Union and, most recently, Pope Francis’ address to a joint meeting of Congress. Visit speaker.gov/education to learn more about his commitment to making sure every child has a chance to receive a great education.