DC Opportunity Scholarship Program : The Democratic Party supports diversity and fairness, especially for marginalized communities. Their policies frequently contradict this. People against school choice make it less likely that disadvantaged kids will acquire a high-quality education like their affluent friends. While many Democratic voters demand school freedom and party change, addressing family needs is difficult.
A major event next month will provide House Democrats a chance to address this and demonstrate their commitment to fairness in Washington, D.C. Before vacationing in August, House Republicans suggested funding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Low-income families can afford superior private schools with scholarships. Scholarship recipients had an average household income of $21,830; over half got government food and health care assistance. Minorities seek support often. 80% of helpers are black and 12% are Hispanic.
House Republicans want the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program to cost $26.25 million instead of $17.5 million. For this, they want to modify D.C.’s education funding. Before, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act gave private, public, and Opportunity Scholarship Program schools the same government funding. The Republican plan would give half to the Opportunity Scholarship Program and half to D.C. public and private schools.
Democrats oppose this plan, alleging Republicans intend to destroy D.C.’s public schools. Doubters miss some crucial aspects.
First, D.C. public schools are fine. Only $200 million of pandemic money have been used. About 3% of these monies were used in October.
Second, the Opportunity Scholarship Program’s financing has stagnated for years, making it less helpful due to inflation. This decline suggests fewer youngsters are receiving program assistance than expected. Opportunity Scholarship Program funded 1,870 students in 2020-21. The number should drop to 1,300 this year.
Even if the idea has greater support and attention, things are worsening. That school had 3,000 applicants last year. That number climbs annually. This is because 91% of program participants attend two- or four-year universities, compared to 39% of D.C. public school grads.
Third, the House Republicans’ government reform agenda is old. While Obama was in office, congressional Democrats planned to change things. They provided Opportunity Scholarship $13 million and D.C. private schools $20 million. Democrats intended to reduce the program’s effects and then eliminate it. This history illuminates Democrats’ current actions. Before Republicans regained control of the House in 2021, the Appropriations Committee planned to abolish the program by letting recent recipients keep receiving aid but not allowing new applicants. The Senate stopped this scheme, which was good.
Democrats have consistently opposed the Opportunity Scholarship Program, so this year’s vote will likely be no different. Even though they can prove naysayers incorrect, their actions illustrate that D.C. families deserve leaders that prioritize them.