School Choice & Charters

D.C.'s Voucher Program Gets Boost From Departing Speaker Boehner

By Arianna Prothero — October 06, 2015 1 min read

By Alyson Klein. Cross-posted from the Politics K-12 blog.

Rep. John Boehner, the speaker of the House, may be on his way out the door at the end of the month, but he clearly has at least one edu-item on his to-do list: Reauthorizing the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program.

The program isn’t up for renewal this year, but Boehner seems to want to make doubly sure it stays on the books—and maybe that he gets his name on the latest iteration of one of his favorite programs. The legislation is co-sponsored by six other lawmakers, including Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee who is retiring after this Congress, and a Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois.

First created in 2004, the D.C. voucher program has been the proverbial political football in Congress for years. One recent tussle: Republicans accused the Obama administration of trying to cut the program off at the knees by throwing up “arbitrary” roadblocks that make it hard for kids to sign up.

So how’s the program working?

A 2014 study found that the neediest kids in the city don’t necessarily take advantage of the program. And a 2008 study found that the program didn’t make much of a difference when it comes to standardized test scores. Both the Obama administration and Republicans agreed in 2012 to study the program in further depth.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.