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House Committee ignore facts and votes for failed voucher program

WASHINGTON - March 10, 2011 -

Today the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee took an action that defies logic. It voted to approve $60 million for the failed District of Columbia private school voucher program (H.R. 471).

“In a time of painful belt tightening and scarce resources, it makes absolutely no sense to pour $60 million into a program that has yielded no evidence of positive academic impact on the students,” noted National Education Association (NEA) President Van Roekel.

“The Committee’s decision is a clear case of dogma triumphing over data,” Van Roekel added.  “The data show that the D.C. private school voucher program, which was intended to assist students attending schools designated as needing improvement under No Child Left Behind, has had no impact on students.

“The data specifically show that the D.C. private school voucher program has had no impact on student achievement in mathematics, no impact on male students, no impact on students entering the program in the second year of its existence, and no impact on those students in the lower third of baseline reading tests—that is, those most in need of assistance.”

The House of Representatives has already slashed $700 million in funding from Title I and more than $1 billion from Head Start. These cuts will have a devastating impact on the education of children across the country.

“It is our hope that when the Oversight and Government Reform Committee proposal (H.R. 471) comes to the House floor, cooler heads and common sense will prevail, and the House will reject spending $60 million on the ideology-driven D.C. private school voucher program,” said Van Roekel.

The research, including research by the Government Accounting Office, shows that vouchers do not reform or improve schools. In the case of the District of Columbia, pulling 1,200 children out of a system that serves 65,000 doesn’t solve problems—it ignores them. Real reform comes about when educators, administrators, parents and community members work together to provide students with smaller class sizes, teachers who know their subject matter and how to teach it, and a challenging, research-based curriculum.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing
3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823,