The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, issued the following statement in response to comments by U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) regarding a report on school choice programs issued this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The report from the GAO demonstrated that in certain local school districts, where some students attend non-public schools with the assistance of school vouchers or funds from education savings accounts, there is confusion on the part of public officials as to whether those students are also eligible for federally funded education services under the requirements known as “equitable participation.” In his comments, Pocan criticized state governments for funding voucher programs.
“The GAO report is an important, non-partisan, contribution to the conversation on school choice,” said Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s Executive Director for Public Policy. “However, we reject efforts to politicize the report and demonize private schools. The report’s explicit recommendations call on the Secretary of Education to incorporate ‘information about providing equitable services in the context of private school choice programs’ into guidance. The OU supports the GAO’s findings and calls on Secretary of Education John King, Jr. to provide local school districts new and clear guidance on how to provide equitable services to all of their students.”