MOST OF THE PARENTS who showed up Saturday to find out more about the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program could not care less about the politics or the polemics behind private school vouchers. What matters to them is arranging a decent education for their children. The excitement they brought to the task of choosing a good school for their sons and daughters should give pause to those who sought to deny them this opportunity.
D.C. parents, including many single mothers, streamed into the Renaissance Hotel for information about the federally funded program that this year will provide vouchers of up to $12,000 to children from low-income families to attend private schools. The scholarship program began in 2004 as part of a three-pronged approach to improve education in the District; additional resources also were funneled to traditional and charter public schools. When Democrats recaptured Congress, they barred the scholarship program from accepting new students, with the Obama administration a disappointing accomplice. The administration even rescinded scholarships that had been promised to 216 families in 2009. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), a strong supporter, used his clout to broker the program’s reauthorization as part of the deal to avert a federal shutdown.