Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization with 1,000 synagogues across the country – through its Institute for Public Affairs, joined with Senator Dan Coats, Joe Lieberman, House Majority Leader Dick Armey and other congressional leaders in introducing the D.C. Student Opportunity Scholarship Act of 1997.
This legislation will provide opportunity scholarships to inner city children in our nation’s capitol. Students whose family income is below the poverty line may receive up to $3200 in scholarship while those with family incomes slightly above the poverty line may receive up to $2400. Students will be able to use these vouchers at private or public schools throughout Washington and its adjacent suburbs.
At a Capitol Hill press conference introducing the measure, Nathan Diament, director of the Institute for Public Affairs, issued the following statement:
The Orthodox Jewish community is proud to join with congressional leaders in this effort to provide hope and opportunity for the children of our nation’s capitol. Children in inner cities across the United States are trapped in dysfunctional schools; for this to be the case in our nation’s capitol – where they sit in the shadows of Jefferson and Lincoln and the words these leaders spoke, etched in stone, about the promise of equality and opportunity in our nation – is more than tragic. The Jewish people have long been called “the people of the book.” And as much as this description relates to our commitment to the teachings of the Bible, it also relates to our commitment to the power of teaching…and learning. We in the Orthodox Jewish community are committed to working with congressional leaders, and all Americans who care about our nation’s children, to give all our children the opportunity to attend a school that meets their needs, that teaches them successfully and that gives them a real chance at the American dream.