April 2017 Church & State - April 2017

Americans United Opposes D.C. Voucher Plan

  AU admin

Americans United last month reaffirmed its opposition to a voucher plan operating in Washington, D.C., as federal lawmakers began deliberating renewing the scheme.

Approved by Congress as a five-year pilot program in 2003, the D.C. plan, formally called the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, has been extended since then. It allocates $20 million annually in taxpayer dollars to subsidize private schools, most of them religious, in the nation’s capital. About 1,100 students receive vouchers under the program.

In a blog post, Americans United called the plan a “complete failure.” AU noted that the voucher scheme has been the subject of four studies by the U.S. Department of Education, which found there has been “no statistically significant overall impact of the Program on reading or math achievement.” On top of those studies, two Government Accountability Office reports show major accountability problems.

Most members of the Washington, D.C., city council oppose the plan.

Despite the problems with the program, some voucher advocates are pressing the Trump administration to expand it. Trump supports vouchers and has proposed a nationwide plan at a price tag of $20 billion.

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