Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America called upon members of the U.S. House of Representatives to approve a school choice pilot program for the nation’s capital when the House considers the District of Columbia Appropriations bill tomorrow.
The pilot program proposal — initiated by President Bush and endorsed by Democratic leaders of D.C., Mayor Williams, City Councilman Chavous and School Board President Cafritz – would provide $40 million in new funding for K-12 education in the District, a portion of which would be disbursed to low income families for tuition scholarships. The program is designed to empower parents by awarding scholarships of up to $7500 to those who qualify and desire to remove their child from a failing school.
Nathan Diament, the Union’s director of public policy issued the following statement in connection with tomorrow’s House action:
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations has long been a supporter of school choice initiatives for they are in keeping with the fundamental Jewish teaching that parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children. We applaud the leadership of President Bush who is clearly determined to improve the educational opportunities for all America’s children and we applaud Mayor Williams and other D.C. officials for their courageous leadership on this issue as well.
Proponents of the D.C. school choice proposal recognize that policy decisions in the education arena must be made on the basis of the best interests of schoolchildren. We call upon members of the House to endorse this principle and support the proposal.