The House of Representatives just voted down an amendment (offered by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton) to the Washington DC voucher bill that would have gutted the program.
Soon to be debated: a voucher program that would provide $500 million over five years in direct assistance to poor families in the District of Columbia. Among the program’s supporters: former DC public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, ex-mayor Adrian Fenty, and the Catholic Church. House Speaker John Boehner, who along with Senator Ted Kennedy used to co-chair an annual dinner to raise money for DC’s Catholic schools, also strongly backs the bill. Some have termed it his “pet issue.”
If that’s the case, Boehner has chosen well.
Generally speaking, DC’s public schools are terrible, just awful. Few of us would choose to place our own children in the DC school system. That is, if we had the money. The poor families that have benefited from the program in the past, and others with young children just entering school, support the program by large margins.
The bill will get near universal support from the House’s Republican majority, strong opposition from the Democratic minority.