For Immediate Release:
October 8, 2015
Contact: Darby Hickey
Grosso and Colleagues Call on Congress to Let D.C. Decide Local Education Policy
Washington, D.C.--Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) issued the following statement after sending a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on the planned vote to reauthorize the Congressionally-mandated school vouchers program:
"Today a majority of the D.C. Council, elected by the residents of Washington, D.C., made it clear to Congress that we do not want to see an expansion of public money spent on private schools. D.C. 's public education system was at a different place when Congress put in place the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, though even then local officials opposed it. But in the last eight years there has been a significant change in D.C. public schools both in terms of the quality of programs and the number of options from which parents can choose. Public charter schools now enroll almost half of our students, enrollment is up in traditional D.C. public schools, and test scores, student satisfaction, and graduation rates continue to rise.
Chairman Chaffetz and other members of Congress who profess a preference for local decision-making and against federal government interference should follow those principles and not expand the voucher program. What's more, an evaluation of the voucher program found that the voucher program did not improve students' academic achievement. As a city dedicated to human rights, it is also disturbing that over 80% of the students with vouchers attend schools that operate outside the non-discrimination provisions of the D.C. Human Rights Act.
It is past time for Congress to stop treating D.C. as a petri dish for members' ideas and let the elected members of the D.C. Council and the Mayor do what D.C. residents voted for us to do--govern ourselves."