Yesterday, the House voted on the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act, a bill to reauthorize DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only federally funded school voucher program in the country, for five years—a continuation of the Republican Party’s attack on the concept of public education.
The school voucher program has siphoned away money from public schools and has proven a failure at its stated goals:
H.R. 4901 makes a significant change to the evaluation of OSP’s effectiveness. The bill prohibits a control study group in making evaluations of the OSP and requires a less rigorous “quasi-experimental research design” than under the SOAR Act. Since 2004, almost $200 million has been spent on DC voucher schools. That is money that could have been spent on District public schools, which serve all students.
Not only is it unnecessary to subject the District of Columbia to a unique federal voucher program, but the program has proven to be ineffective and has failed to improve academic achievement, as measured by math and reading test scores. Additionally, the program has failed to improve the academic achievement of students from low-performing public schools. The SOAR Act also exempts OSP from federal civil rights laws that apply to public schools and federally funded programs.
The bill passed 224 to 181.
The bill was mostly party line. 8 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against it, and 2 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for it.
Here are the 8 Republicans:
Mike Bost (IL-12)
Mo Brooks (AL-05)
Ryan Costello (PA-06)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
David Reichert (WA-08)
Mike Simpson (ID-02)
The 2 Democrats were John Delaney (MD-06) and Dan Lipinski (IL-03).