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Funding For D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program Moves Forward

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Low-income students in the District will continue to receive vouchers for private schools, thanks to a new deal.
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Low-income students in the District will continue to receive vouchers for private schools, thanks to a new deal.

The White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have struck a deal over D.C.'s school voucher program.

House Speaker John Boehner today announced a deal with the Department of Education to make sure the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is fully implemented, with no cap on enrollment and the ability for parents who don't have children in the program to apply for scholarships.

The program gives low-income District students money to help pay for tuition at private or parochial schools. It started in 2004, and has been a favorite of Republicans. And in the District, support for the program is also split: some leaders such as mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton oppose the program, but others, including former council chairman Kwame Brown and former Mayor Adrian Fenty have championed school vouchers.

A 2009 Department of Education study on the program gave it a mixed report card, stating that it had a positive impact on reading test scores, but not on math test scores.

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