Lipinski Helps Lead Introduction of School Choice Legislation
Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) helped introduce the bipartisan Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, which will continue a successful program to provide low-income students at failing public schools in Washington, D.C., with vouchers to attend private schools. The measure reauthorizes the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.
“I don’t think it’s too much to ask that our schools provide children with a solid education, regardless of where they live or their parents’ income,” Congressman Lipinski said. “When schools fail to meet reasonable standards, we need to take action before another generation of children suffers the consequences. Reauthorizing this proven program will give kids stuck in failing schools a chance to live up to their full potential.”
The Opportunity Scholarship Program has been rigorously evaluated and shown to have a strong positive effect on the students who take advantage of it. For instance, voucher use has been shown to significantly increase graduation rates. In addition, parents report high levels of satisfaction with their child’s new school.
The reauthorization of the OSP contains a number of improvements, including new accountability, oversight, and teacher-quality standards. Requirements to objectively evaluate the impact of the program will remain in place. The bill also authorizes funding for the improvement of D.C. public and public charter schools.
“Providing school choice should be part of a multi-faceted approach to improving our schools and increasing student achievement,” Congressman Lipinski said. “Voucher programs empower parents, giving them the opportunity to ‘vote with their feet’ by selecting the school that works best for their children. Unless parents are engaged in their children’s education, even the best policies, teachers, and schools cannot succeed. Government leaders need to help educators reach out to parents and guardians and make them full partners in their children’s education.”
(January 26, 2011)
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