In April of last year, when President Obama (D), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed on a budget averting a government shutdown, the winners weren’t just the government workers and various recipients of government assistance who didn’t miss a paycheck.
The winners were also children from low-income D.C. families.
That’s because the budget deal also reauthorized the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) for another five years, ensuring funding for the voucher program that had raised graduation rates, improved academic achievement and left parents satisfied.
Or so we thought.
Fast-forward a year and a half, and we see how that agreement extended only so far. Last fall, the first year after the reauthorization, saw a 60 percent increase in OSP enrollment, giving D.C. families hope that the trend would increase this year, allowing them to participate in the oversubscribed program.
But maneuvering from the U.S. Education Department prevented the scholarship program from growing. Numbers released last month highlighted enrollment increases in traditional D.C. public schools and public charter schools. But despite an increase in funding from $15.5 million last year to $20 million in 2012-13, there was a net decrease in the number of students participating in the voucher program.