WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Government Operations Subcommittee, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting data and information to help the Committee understand how the District of Columbia’s school choice program has improved educational opportunities for D.C. students.
The program, last reauthorized by the D.C. Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, is supported by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and bipartisan Members of the U.S. Congress. Funding for this important program lapses this fiscal year.
On March 29, 2019, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a letter to Secretary DeVos about the SOAR program. The Chairmen sent the letter without consulting Republican members of the Committee or seeking their views on the program.
Excerpt from the Ranking Member’s letter:
“The SOAR Act offers residents of the District of Columbia educational choices by equally splitting funds between D.C. Public School (DCPS), D.C. Public Charter Schools (DCPCS), and a private school scholarship program. A recent study found that a SOAR scholarship increased a D.C. student’s probability of graduating high school by 12 percent, decreased a student’s likelihood of chronic absenteeism by almost six percent, increased student satisfaction by almost nine percent, and increased a student’s feeling of safety by almost 12 percent. Another study from 2007, showed that school choice leads to greater civic values-including political tolerance, volunteerism, and political participation.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.