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Legislators Introduce D.C. School Voucher Bills

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By Jessica Gould

Following the State of the Union, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is calling on President Obama to improve education by reviving a D.C. voucher program.

Boehner and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced bills Wednesday to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to students from low-income families so they can attend private and parochial schools.

"I agree with the president," Boehner says. "Education does play a key role in making our country more competitive. But we need to start by making America's education system itself more competitive. That's what the Opportunity Scholarships are doing here in D.C."

But opponents, like Washington Teachers' Union President Nathan Saunders, say the program drains resources from public schools.

"It's unfortunate that some think that providing a scholarship to a few is going to improve the quality of education, but it's not," Saunders says.

In 2009, Congress voted not to renew funding for the voucher program, and it is scheduled to close once the current recipients graduate from high school.


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