Read the Johnson letter here.
Washington, D.C. - Senator Ron Johnson (WI) today released the text of a letter sent to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. The letter encourages the subcommittee to fund the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as required by law, which provides that the program receive one-third of the total federal funding for School Improvement in the District of Columbia. The President’s budget eliminates funding for the program.
“We owe it to our kids to ensure that each of them has an equal chance at a quality education. Unfortunately, far too many are locked in failing schools and never get the tools they need to compete in a challenging economic climate. The fact is that by not fixing our broken school system, we are failing our kids.
“The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program is working. Families participating in the program have an average annual income of just $24,000. These are Washington’s poorest kids. They have only a 55% chance of graduating from D.C. public schools, while students participating in the Opportunity Scholarship Program have a 91% graduation rate from high school. These families are desperate to offer their children a better education, and nearly 1,200 new students have already applied this year. Congress should not turn its back on them.
“Just one year ago, Congress came together on a bipartisan basis to extend the program for five years, and President Obama signed that legislation into law. I am extremely disappointed that despite agreeing to this important initiative, he subsequently de-funded it completely in his 2013 budget. The Senate should do better - by fully funding D.C. Opportunity Scholarships, and fulfilling the commitment made to D.C. students and parents.”
Johnson is joined on the letter by Senators Lamar Alexander (TN), Susan Collins (ME), and Joe Lieberman (CT).