House to Vote on SOAR Act

Later today, the House of Representatives has the opportunity to pass the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act, HR 471. This initiative would reauthorize the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), restoring funding that the Obama administration and congressional Democrats eliminated in 2009. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), not only sponsored this important legislation, but have also spoke passionately about putting children and their parents first when it comes to the choice of their education, not politics and special interests.

DCOSP, created in 2004, has given more than 3,300 District of Columbia students the opportunity to attend higher performance schools. Congressionally mandated evaluations of the program revealed significant gains in academic achievement. Participants also have a 91% graduation rate, compared to the DC Public Schools graduation rate of 55%.

The facts are there. The program is successful and children the opportunity to succeed. Those that are opposed to the program have fallen prey to the status quo of teachers unions and the educational establishment. For many years now, it has been apparent that centralization of education powers in Washington, DC does not equal better results. The Constitution mandates that the Federal government has an obligation to the District of Columbia, and that obligation is given a better base to grow with this program.

The Washington Post makes a strong argument against the Obama administration’s out of touch message and disregard for facts in an opinion editorial piece this morning:

it is parents, not government, choosing where to spend the vouchers. Given that this program takes no money away from public or public charter schools; that the administration does not object to parents directing Pell grants to Notre Dame or Georgetown; and that members of the administration would never accept having to send their own children to failing schools, we don’t think the argument is very persuasive. Maybe that’s why an administration that promised never to let ideology trump evidence is making an exception in this case.

True results are seen when options are given and innovation in education is allowed to flourish. The SOAR Act does just that. Heritage Action strongly supports HR 471 and will include the vote today on our legislative scorecard.

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