Washington D.C. Parents Pleased With School Choice; Ohio's Students Deserve Nothing Less
In light of Gov. Ted Strickland's regrettable decision to eliminate education choices for low-income Ohio students, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) today called attention to a new report by Georgetown University Public Policy Institute that shows considerable parental satisfaction with a similar program in the District of Columbia. The program was established by Congress and President Bush in 2003 to provide new options for children in underachieving schools.
Unfortunately, while educational choices are finally expanding for low-income parents in the District of Columbia, Ohio's governor is intent on taking educational choices away from such families in the State of Ohio. Gov. Strickland's budget proposal eliminates school choice for thousands of low-income students stuck in underachieving public schools.
"Opponents of school choice are running out of excuses for continuing to deny education choice to children in other underachieving public school systems across America," Boehner said. "We have an obligation to consider the results of this study as Congress considers reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and the D.C. scholarship program."
"The D.C. Scholarship program has been a blessing to thousands of low-income families in Washington, D.C., and parents in Ohio deserve the same education choices," Boehner said. "These programs give new options to parents seeking to transfer their children to private schools, and they help students who remain in public schools by encouraging improvements and reform."
"In the District of Columbia, low-income parents used data from No Child Left Behind as leverage to get the right to transfer their children out of chronically underachieving schools and into successful private and religious schools - a right they'd been seeking for years," Boehner said.
"We need to allow parents in similar situations in communities across America to have the same opportunities, while providing increased local control for states that are willing to commit to increasing student achievement."
The original version of the No Child Left Behind legislation, introduced by Boehner and other House Republicans in March 2001 as H.R. 1, featured a "charter states" proposal that would have given states greater flexibility in exchange for a commitment to raising student achievement. The proposal would also have allowed low-income parents with children in chronically underachieving public schools to send their children to private or religious schools. Legislation was later passed by Congress providing this right to low-income parents in the District of Columbia.
Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), the senior Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, has introduced legislation that would allow parents with children in chronically underachieving public schools to transfer their children to successful private and religious schools under No Child Left Behind. Boehner is an original co-sponsor of Rep. McKeon's bill.
The Georgetown study is available online at http://www.georgetown.edu/research/scdp.
Boehner represents Ohio's 8th District, which includes all of Darke, Miami and Preble counties, most of Butler and Mercer counties, and the northeastern corner of Montgomery County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.