WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 1, 2013 -
House Republican leaders today sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the administration’s failure to properly support and implement the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), w hich helps low-income children in the nation's capital escape underperforming schools.
Signed by House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN), the letter details several actions the administration has taken that have negatively affected D.C. OSP and participating families, including rescinding scholarships from eligible students and twice attempting to zero out funding for the program.
In the letter, the Republican leaders state:
Following a May 2012 meeting, you gave assurances to House and Senate leaders that the department would no longer set up artificial road blocks to hinder the implementation of OSP. Despite these assurances, our offices continue to be concerned that the department is pursuing arbitrary policies and procedures that will hinder the implementation of the program… We urge you to keep your commitment to us, as well as the deserving children in our nation’s capital… President Obama has said, “If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible — from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.” The OSP affords D.C. students that chance, and the department should do everything it can to ensure the program funds the maximum number of scholarships allowed for by appropriations made by Congress.
The members request a meeting with the Department of Education to discuss actions that are being taken to ensure the department authorizes the maximum number of scholarships. Additionally, members ask the department to provide a thorough accounting of D.C. OSP funds, as well as an explanation for any unused or unobligated money.
To read the letter, click here. To read a recent statement from Chairman Kline on the importance of supporting school choice initiatives such as D.C. OSP, click here.
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