As a school superintendent and constituent, I urge you to Vote No on reauthorization of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R. 10), which funds the Washington D.C. private school voucher program. Since the programs authorization in 2004, over $190 million in taxpayer dollars have been diverted to private schools in D.C.
· I oppose this and all other private school voucher programs because public funds should be spent on public schools, not private schools. But the D.C. program, in particular, has proven ineffective and unaccountable to American taxpayers. Not only have multiple Department of Education (USED) studies concluded that the program has failed to improve educational outcomes for participating students, but two U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports have also identified its repeated management and accountability failures.
· Vouchers do not offer a meaningful choice to parents or students. Voucher schools can reject students based on prior academic achievement, economic background, English language ability, or disciplinary history. These schools are not held to the same public accountability standards all public schools must meet, and deprive students of important rights and protections.
· At a time of limited funding for existing education programs, such as IDEA and Title I, and a looming sequester, it is unthinkable to divert millions of taxpayer funds to paying for the private school tuition of less than 7,000 D.C. students
· Again, I urge you to Vote No on H.R. 10. Thank you for your consideration.