Senate May Vote Soon On D.C. School Voucher Program

The fate of the District of Columbia school voucher subsidy may soon come down to a Senate vote.

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, is aggressively crusading on behalf of the federally funded voucher program and claims he has a commitment from Majority Leader Harry M. Reid to bring the matter to the floor for debate and a vote.

In May, Lieberman orchestrated two hours of glowing testimony in his committee on behalf of the “D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program,” a George W. Bush-originated plan that pays for tuition for some 1,700 students at religious and other private schools in the District.

Americans United, teachers unions and other educational and civil liberties groups have worked diligently to bring the private school subsidy to an end. In a compromise move, President Barack Obama proposed closing the program to new students but continuing the “scholarships” for students currently enrolled until they finish high school.

Critics insist the program diverts attention and funding away from public schools and directs taxpayer dollars toward private schools that are free to indoctrinate students in religion and discriminate in hiring on religious grounds.

Americans United is urging its members to contact their senators to stop the D.C. voucher program. Visit www.au.org/dcvouchers to take action or to learn more about the issue.