Posted on April 30, 1998 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, through its Institute for Public Affairs, hails passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation creating a school voucher program for Washington, DC.

The DC Student Opportunity Act passed the House by a vote of 214 to 206; it passed the Senate last fall.

The $25 million package will provide up to $3,200 to 2000 of Washington’s poorest children. These children and their families would use the voucher funds to pay for the tuition or fees associated with attending the public, private or parochial school of their choice. The vouchers will be made available to low-income families chosen by lottery.

Nathan Diament, director of the Union’s Institute for Public Affairs issued the following statement following the House vote:

In approving the DC Student Opportunity Act in a bipartisan fashion, Congress has taken a historic step toward addressing the crisis confronting inner city children in our nation’s capital. Too many children are trapped in these dysfunctional schools and this legislation is the beginning of providing some of them with the opportunity for a better and brighter future.

At the behest of the educational establishment, the President has vowed to veto this legislation. It is our hope that the President will pause for a moment, and consider the opportunity that the passage of this legislation provides. Let our nation’s capital serve as one of America’s “laboratories of democracy” and let us test the thesis of whether voucher plans can provide children with greater educational opportunities. The crisis in which these children find themselves could not possibly get worse, isn’t it about
time we did something to make it better.

It is time to give the parents of the capital’s schoolchildren more resources and more power to use in guiding their children’s education. This legislation does just that.
Mr. President, put our children before politics and sign this legislation into law.