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Letter to the House Appropriations Committee Opposing Funding for the DC Voucher Program

June 22, 2011

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association’s (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our strong opposition to inclusion of funding for the District of Columbia private school voucher program in the FY 2012 Financial Services Appropriations bill.  This unnecessary program funnels millions in federal spending to private schools at taxpayer expense. 

As Congress is proposing drastic reductions in federal spending, including slashing billions from core education programs, there is no reason to divert millions of dollars to vouchers.  It is simply wrong to consider funneling millions of taxpayer dollars to private schools while cutting programs that help millions of students in public schools. 

Vouchers are not real education reform.  Pulling 1,200 children out of a system that serves 65,000 doesn’t solve problems — it ignores them.  Rather than offering an empty promise for a few, we should be ensuring that every child has access to a great public school.  And, instead of taking money out of public schools for private schools, Congress should be investing in strategies to improve student achievement.

Our focus should be on strategies proven to increase student achievement, such as increasing parental involvement, strengthening teacher training, and reducing class size.  And, our goal should be to prepare all students for the jobs of the future, not to allow a few students and parents to choose a private school at taxpayer expense. 

When public schools are struggling, the last thing we need is to spend scarce taxpayer funds on private schools.  We urge you to stand up for the millions of students in public schools by rejecting funding for private school vouchers.   

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson         
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy