Families and Supporters Rally to Save DC Vouchers

Published October 1, 2009

DC Parents for School Choice, an organization that advocates for education options on behalf of low-income families in the District of Columbia, will hold a large Capitol Hill rally on September 30 to encourage Congress to extend the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.

DC Parents for School Choice expects more than 1,000 supporters from the District and surrounding states to attend the rally, to be held at Upper Senate Park from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The park is located beside the U.S. Capitol at Constitution Avenue NW and New Jersey Avenue NW.

Rally organizers plan to send a clear message of gratitude to Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME), who have sponsored reauthorization legislation to continue the program and strengthen it. If the legislation or a similar law is not passed, the program will end after this school year.

Virginia Walden Ford, the group’s executive director, hopes all national and local organizations supporting school choice will participate.

“We must let all members of Congress—whether Democratic or Republican—know school choice should remain a key component of any education reform initiative,” Walden Ford said.

Grassroots Groundswell

According to a recent survey, 79 percent of DC residents oppose ending the program. The majority of the DC City Council, former Mayor Anthony Williams, former Councilman Kevin Chavous, and a bipartisan team in Congress support the program, and most will likely participate in the rally. With strong local support for the program, event planners hope the rally will be a well-attended success.

DC Parents for School Choice recently launched a Web site, http://www.SaveSchoolChoice.com, designed to facilitate communication between voucher program supporters and legislators. The site includes rally details and the opportunity to RSVP for the event.

“Join us as we fight to save the school choice in DC,” urged Ford. “Low-income children deserve opportunities, but Congress needs to hear your support loud and clear. Together, we can save the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program and help thousands of families.”

Virginia Gentles ([email protected]) writes from Virginia. She previously served in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement and led Florida’s school choice office.