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Voucher Advocates Seek Support of New Congress

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By Jessica Gould

Advocates for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship hope the political tides have turned in favor of the federally funded voucher program.

The program allows children from low-income families to receive public funds so they can attend private and parochial schools.

"We had up to 2,000 low income children receiving a high quality private school education that otherwise wouldn't receive that education," says fomer D.C. Council Member Kevin Chavous.

But opponents argue the program drains talent and resources from the traditional public school system. And in 2009, Congress voted not to renew its funding.

Now an aide to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) says the senator is working closely with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on bills to reauthorize the program. Chavous says he's hopeful.

"We expect it will pass the House and we have a fighting chance of getting it passed in the Senate," he says.

For now, the program is scheduled to close once the current recipients graduate from high school.

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