Trump Admin Announces $85 Million for Low-Income D.C. Children to Attend Private Schools

In this Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018 photo, students participate in a pre-kindergarten class at Alice M. Harte Charter School in New Orleans. Charter schools, which are publicly funded and privately operated, are often located in urban areas with large back populations, intended as alternatives to struggling city schools. (AP Photo/Gerald …
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the U.S. Education Department (USED) will grant at least $85 million over the next five years to low-income children living in Washington, DC, to attend the private schools of their choice.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) is the only federally-funded school choice program in the nation.

According to statistics from USED, about 10,000 scholarships for disadvantaged K-12 students have been granted over the lifetime of the program, but nearly 40,000 students have applied for scholarships, suggesting high demand and need for more school choice options.

In 2017, President Donald Trump resurrected the program, which had enjoyed bipartisan support until the Obama administration cut its funding as teachers’ unions complained school choice redirects funding away from public schools.

“Students and parents love the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program because it gives them the freedom to choose the right education fit for them,” said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a statement. “When students find their right fit, we know they’re more likely to succeed.”

DeVos continued:

While too many Democrats in Congress continue to do the bidding of union bosses who want nothing more than to defund this successful program, this administration will continue to be on the side of students and parents. This program should not be subject to political whims.

The average income of families who receive grants is less than $27,000 per year.

A significant data fact about the scholarship program is that, while only 69 percent of D.C. public school students graduate from high school, nearly 98 percent of scholarship recipients graduate, with 86 percent continuing on to attend college.

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