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Letter to the House Opposing the DC Voucher Bill

March 28, 2011

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the National Education Association’s (NEA) 3.2 million members, we strongly urge you to VOTE NO on H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunity Results (SOAR) Act, scheduled for a floor vote this week.  This unnecessary legislation would expand the failed District of Columbia private school voucher program, funneling millions in new federal spending to private schools at taxpayer expense.  Votes on this issue WILL be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 112th Congress. 

As Congress is proposing drastic reductions in federal spending, including a House-passed bill 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 and teachers are being laid off, 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 voting NO on H.R. 471. 


Kim Anderson       
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy