Scott protests slashing of D.C. school choice program


Sen. Tim Scott   The Office of Sen. Tim Scott

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) was among a group of lawmakers who last week questioned the Obama administration’s decision to reduce funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), as well as terminating all future funding for the program.

The school choice program serves predominantly low-income and minority families in Washington DC, where the four-year high school graduation rate is only 59 percent. For students in the OSP, that number rises to 90 percent.  

Among the children who benefit from the program,  97 percent are African-American or Hispanic.

Scott, along with Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Scott (R-SC) and James Lankford (R-OK), sent a letter to the White House to protest the cuts, which were proposed in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget request.

“The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program provides scholarships for children of low-income households in the district to attend schools that their families otherwise could never possibly afford,” the senators wrote. “Because the enrollment wait list for D.C. Public Charter Schools totals more than 22,000 applicants, disadvantaged Washington students have limited options in the district’s public schools. For many Washington students, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is the only hope for an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.”

As a member of the Senate Education Committee, Scott is a leading advocate for school choice in the U.S. Senate. He introduced the CHOICE Act earlier this year to provide more education options for low-income communities, children with special needs and military families.

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