WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Federal Program Offers Private-School Vouchers To D.C. Students

Play associated audio
The voucher program is unpopular with teachers because it is said to take money out of public schools.
Basheer Tome: http://www.flickr.com/photos/basheertome/4597447306/
The voucher program is unpopular with teachers because it is said to take money out of public schools.

Nearly 300 children have been awarded new private-school tuition vouchers under a federal program that's been the source of tension between Congress and the White House. The D.C. Opportunity scholarship program is awarding approximately 1,800 vouchers this year.

Salma Khan is the director of the effort. She says there are about 300 new students in the program this year, and that most of them come from households receiving food stamps.

"The funding is geared towards low-income students in the district who attend school that have been designated as in need of improvement," says Khan.

Carlos Battle is currently a student at Northeastern University and the first person in his family to go to college. He says the scholarship program helped him get where he is today, and that thanks to the program, his younger brother is on the same path.

"He could've been one of the kids outside doing what he's not supposed to," says Battle. "Instead, he took a better route that will help him and his future. I'm just proud of him."

Since the program was started in 2004, more than 5,000 students have recieved vouchers. The vouchers offer recipients up to $12,205 to attend private high schools or $8,136 for elementary and middle schools.

The program has been in place since 2004, and the nation's capital is the only jurisdiction where federal tax dollars are used to subsidize private-school tuition. The Obama administration has attempted to phase it out, but House Majority Leader John Boehner and others in Congress have fought to keep it.


Encore: 'Future Shock' 40 Years Later

Future Shock by Alvin Toffler was a huge sensation when it was published in 1970. The book perfectly captured the angst of that time and prepared society for more changes to come.

In Prison, The Passion That Drove A Yogurt-Maker To Arson Still Burns

The yogurt entrepreneur who set fire to his factory remains in prison, but he's in better spirits now. "He's dreaming again," says his wife.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - July 1, 2016

Kojo and Tom Sherwood chat with D.C. Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo and Virginia Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax).


'Future Shock' Author Alvin Toffler Dies at 87

Toffler's warnings about 'information overload' and the accelerating pace of change in modern society made his seminal 1970 book a best-seller in the U.S. and around the world.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.