Protesters in Washington put Congress in the line of fire Wednesday for voting to end school vouchers in D.C. — while nearly four out of 10 members of Congress send their own children to private schools.
Supporters of a celebrated school voucher program in Washington rallied near the mayor’s office Wednesday to save the scholarships from being slashed by Congress — nearly 40 percent of whose members send their own children to private schools.
An estimated 1,000 parents, children and community leaders attended the afternoon protest in Washington’s Freedom Plaza, where they called on D.C. politicians to help preserve a federal school choice program that currently assists more than 1,700 students with scholarships worth up to $7,500.
“Several years ago many of us in this good city worked very hard to get a program going with the federal government so that children could go to the schools of their choice. This program has worked,” said Kevin Chavous, a former D.C. councilman, but “right now some folks in Congress want to end this program.”
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is slated to end next year because of a provision slipped into Congress’ $410 billion omnibus spending bill by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., whose children attend private school.
The amendment has angered parents who say the vouchers have raised performance and rescued students from one of the country’s worst public school systems.