Archbishop Carroll High School President Testifies in Support of Bill to Extend Scholarship Program for Low Income Students in District of Columbia
November 4, 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs held a hearing, “The Value of Education Choices for Low-Income Families: Reauthorizing the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.”
The Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act of 2015 (S. 2171) would reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program through 2022. Witnesses at the hearing included Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who introduced the legislation in the Senate and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), a co-sponsor of the bill.
Mary Elizabeth Blaufuss, president and chief executive officer of Archbishop Carroll High School was a witness at the hearing and provided testimony in support of the scholarship program. “The most compelling reason to reauthorize the Opportunity Scholarship Program is that it works where it really counts,” she said, citing the 2010 study of the program by the U.S. Department of Education that found OSP students were 21 percent more likely to graduate from high school than those who qualified for the scholarship but did not receive it.
Blaufuss also cited the value of empowering families with educational choice and the inherent good for the city from the economic diversity that the Opportunity Scholarship helps promote in the schools, and included several anecdotes of how the program has made a difference in the lives of students who receive the scholarships and have chosen to attend Archbishop Carroll High School.
Reauthorization of the Opportunity Scholarship Program would give the District of Columbia $60 million in funding to be evenly divided among public schools, charter schools and scholarships for low-income families to use at non-public schools. Parents in the nation’s capital would continue to have the option of selecting a school that best fits the educational needs of their children. Since its inception in 2004, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has been a popular and effective program providing a quality private school education to nearly 6,200 very low-income children within the District of Columbia.
The companion legislation to S. 2171 passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on October 21. The archdiocese is hopeful for swift passage of the Senate bill.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
Chieko Noguchi or Lindsey Frechou