Congressional Hearing Held on Scholarships for Low-Income Children
Re-authorization of scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR) will continue to be lifeline for low-income children in the nation’s capital
May 10, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday the United States House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a field hearing on the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C.
Created in 2004 with bi-partisan support to meet the growing need for access to quality education options for families in the District of Columbia, OSP has been a lifeline for nearly 6,000 low-income children, most of whom would otherwise attend a poorly performing public school, by giving them the chance to choose a non-public school of their choice that best meets their needs. OSP is part of a three-sector approach that includes funding for public, public-charter, and non-public schools.
Witnesses who testified at the hearing included Patrick J. Wolf, Ph.D., a former independent evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education and the chief investigator of a study that showed OSP having a statistically significant impact on student reading levels; Shirley-Ann Tomido, a current student at The George Washington University and former Opportunity Scholarship recipient; and Seferash Teferra, the parent of a current Opportunity Scholarship recipient. In particular, the remarks made by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) was of great encouragement to OSP supporters, as he stated that this was not a political conversation about education and stressed that “the focus has to be on the kids.” The senator spoke of his support and appreciation for good public schools, but said he was passionate about the topic of school choice because he has seen the difference it makes. “When parents have better choices, their kids have a better chance,” he concluded. More than 300 people were in attendance at Archbishop Carroll High School’s auditorium, a location chosen by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in order to accommodate the large numbers of people who support this popular and successful scholarship program who wished to attend the hearing.
The Archdiocese of Washington continues to support the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and the lifeline it provides to low-income families in the District of Columbia by giving them the choice to send their children to the school that best fits their needs. The archdiocese calls for the swift introduction and passage of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR Act) and the reauthorization of the program through 2022.
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.
CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi