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School Choice & Charters

Obama’s Press Secretary Gives Hope for D.C. Voucher Students

By Michele McNeil — March 11, 2009 1 min read
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In today’s media briefing, President Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that even though Congress wants to zero out the Washington, D.C. voucher program, Obama doesn’t want to disrupt the schooling of the students currently taking advantage of the program.

Though Obama is certainly not a big fan of vouchers, he continues to come down on the side of things that he says are working for kids. That’s why he’s called for an expansion of charter schools and has encouraged states to lift any caps they have on charters, even though some oppose this. Now, he’s venturing into voucher territory--dangerous waters, as he no doubt learned during the campaign.

Here’s a transcript of today’s relevant Q-and-A with Robert Gibbs:

Q Robert, what does the President think about the D.C. scholarship program? The spending bill zeroes out and cuts the money for it.

MR. GIBBS: The President -- as I’ve said I think last week, the President doesn’t believe that vouchers are a long-term answer to our educational problems and the challenges that face our public school system, where the vast majority of students are educated in this country. The President laid out a fairly robust education reform plan yesterday. But the President I think understands that there are -- it wouldn’t make sense to disrupt the education of those that are in that system, and I think we’ll work with Congress to ensure that a disruption like that doesn’t take place.

Q So will he propose in his full budget to restore that funding for those kids already in the program?

MR. GIBBS: I’d certainly look through the budget stuff, but I think, whether it’s in the budget or in the appropriations process, that we look for a way to work with -- work with Congress to ensure, as I said, that disruption doesn’t take place.

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