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Entries in School Vouchers (20)

Thursday
Feb212013

NH House Republican Leaders Comment on Passage of Bill Repealing School Choice Tax Credit

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene G. Chandler (R-Bartlett), Deputy House Republican Leader David Hess (R-Hooksett) and House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford) offered the following comments following the passage of HB370, a bill that would repeal the school choice tax credit program. The bill passed the House 188-151.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“Choice in education should not only be available to the rich. No parent should be forced to send a child to a school that does not meet the child’s needs. This program became law less than one year ago. Its first program year was to be this year. We now have businesses who have committed donations and families who have applied for scholarships who are in limbo, not knowing if they will be able to receive those scholarships. This program should be given a fair chance to succeed or fail on its own merits.”

Deputy House Republican Leader David Hess (R-Hooksett)

“This bill repeals a completely need based scholarship opportunity that makes programs of academic excellence available to moderate and low income families. We poured hundreds of hours into ensuring the program would not adversely affect school districts or state revenue. Now a politically motivated bill has threatened to end the program before it can be fully assessed. It’s unfortunate for those families and children who could benefit.”

House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford)

“No child learns exactly the same and each child has his or her talents and strengths. Unfortunately, other than the choice to uproot and move to a different school district, most middle class families have lacked choice in education, which is a barrier preventing many children from achieving their full potential. It’s a real shame the Democrat controlled House voted today to take that opportunity away from our state’s lower income families. Parents know their children best and we should allow families to make choices together that are in the best interest of individual students. We made a promise to the hundred of families who have already applied for financial assistance. We hope the repeal fails in the Senate and we’re able to give this program and the children it helps a chance to succeed.”

Friday
Feb012013

Alliance for School Choice Unveils School Choice Yearbook 2012-13

Almost A Quarter-Million Students Enrolled in Private School Choice Programs This Year, According to New School Choice Yearbook

Single-year private school choice program enrollment growth is largest in American history

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 1, 2013)—More than 245,000 children are participating in publicly funded private school choice programs across the nation, according to the School Choice Yearbook 2012-13—the annual award-winning publication offering the most comprehensive data on the nation’s 32 private school choice programs—released today by the Alliance for School Choice.

Download the Yearbook at www.AllianceforSchoolChoice.org/Yearbook.

Among this year’s landmark findings:

  • A total of 245,854 students are enrolled in private school choice programs in the United States, an increase of more than 35,000 students from a year ago. It represents the largest single-year increase in private school choice program enrollment in American history.
  • Five new programs were enacted last year, and a remarkable bipartisan expansion of the New Orleans voucher program has now made the scholarship program available to children all across Louisiana.
  • Eleven of the 32 private school choice programs are specifically tailored to serve children with special needs, benefiting more than 30,000 students nationwide.
  • Nearly all of the children participating in America’s private school choice programs come from low- or middle-income families or are students with special needs.
  • Florida is home to the most students benefiting from private school choice, with more than 76,000 students participants in the state’s two existing programs. Two states—Ohio and Arizona—have four school choice programs each.

Following a year that saw educational choice expansions that included continued growth of public charter schools, public school choice, and expansions of options like education savings accounts and virtual schools, the Yearbook chronicles how much of the education reform successes in 2012 were made possible as a result of private school choice gains.

“This year’s remarkable growth for educational choice in all its forms is a testament to the hard work of tireless advocates all across the country,” said Yearbook coauthor Malcom Glenn, the national director of communications at the Alliance. “The gains of 2012 give us great momentum towards helping even more kids in the year ahead.”

The Alliance’s annual Yearbook, entitled School Choice Now: The Power of Educational Choice, is a collection of the nation’s most accurate data on private school choice programs across the country. The 2012-13 edition, which was coauthored by Alliance Director of External Affairs Randan Swindler, contains an analysis of educational choice trends and information, a directory of the accountability provisions and requirements for each of the nation’s 32 private school choice programs, and a chronicle of the past year’s events.

“It’s fitting that we’re releasing our Yearbook during National School Choice Week, when people all across the country are celebrating giving parents quality options,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the Alliance. “Now is the time for people to recognize how more lives than ever are changing as a result of educational choice.”

The Alliance for School Choice is a leading national organization promoting educational choice. For more information, or to download the Yearbook, visit www.AllianceForSchoolChoice.org.

This release is available to read online here.

www.AllianceforSchoolChoice.org

Friday
Jan112013

American Federation for Children Spent More Than $7 Million in 2012

Expands Educational Choice Support Across the Country

New report shows that leading educational choice group and its affiliates influenced more than 200 political races

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 10, 2012)—A new report released today by the American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for educational choice—reveals that the Federation and its affiliated organizations spent more than $7 million on political races in 2012, helping elect nearly 200 candidates from across the country who have pledged to enact, expand, and strengthen educational choice for America’s children.

The Federation’s 2012 Election Impact Report—the third annual report detailing the organization’s investments in political races nationwide—profiles its investments in 219 races in nine different states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. In total, 83 percent of the candidates supported by the organization and its affiliates in 2012 won their elections.

This year’s political involvement by the Federation and its affiliated organizations represents one of their largest investments ever, reinforcing their pledge to ensure that high-quality, accountable school choice legislation is enacted for children in greatest need of better educational opportunities.

“Our work in these elections is fundamentally important to the future of creating more, better, and higher-impact education reform across the country,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children and a former Washington, D.C., Council member. “Through supporting a dynamic coalition of both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who are committed to improving the lives of children, especially those from low-income families, we can transform the lives of more young people than ever before through educational choice.”

Approximately 40 percent of the Federation’s total contributions to candidates in 2012 went to Democrats, an indication of the growing bipartisanship present in the educational choice movement.

The Federation and its affiliated organizations use candidate questionnaires to determine which candidates will support educational choice if elected.  Support comes via combination of direct contributions, independent expenditures, and in-kind expenditures, as well as strategic placement of radio and television advertisements.

The 2012 Election Impact Report also features profiles of some of the most noteworthy newly-elected choice supporters as well as incumbents from across the states, including: Arizona Sens. Barbara McGuire (D) and Kimberly Yee (R), Florida Rep. Bruce Antone (D), Indiana Gov.-Elect Mike Pence, North Carolina Sen. Malcolm Graham (D), North Carolina Reps. Marcus Brandon (D) and Rob Bryan (R), Ohio Rep. Bill Patmon (D), Pennsylvania Reps. Jim Christiana (R) and Vanessa Lowery Brown (D), Tennessee Reps. John DeBerry (D) and Tony Shipley (R), as well as Wisconsin State Sen. Rick Gudex (R) and Wisconsin Rep. Kathy Bernier (R).

Nationwide, there are 32 publicly-funded private school choice programs in 16 states and the District of Columbia. This year, it is anticipated that approximately 250,000 children will participate in these programs.

To download the Federation’s 2012 Election Impact Report, click here.

Read this release online here.

www.FederationforChildren.org

 

Thursday
Jan102013

NH House Republican Leaders React to Lawsuit Challenging School Choice Law 

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and Deputy House Republican Leader David Hess (R-Hooksett) offered the following comments in reaction to the lawsuit filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, American Civil Liberties Union and the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union challenging the constitutionality of the school choice law passed by the New Hampshire legislature in 2012. The law allows businesses to donate to scholarship programs for lower income families in exchange for credits against their state business taxes.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler

“We believe the school choice law is constitutional. The policy committees that worked on this issue did a thorough job in ensuring we had a constitutional bill. This law is intended to help less fortunate New Hampshire families expand their education choices. It is a shame that we now have an out of state special interest group leading the charge to challenge this law. This frivolous lawsuit will no doubt cost the taxpayers of New Hampshire money and tie up resources. In the end, we believe the law will stand and New Hampshire will be able to continue this program to empower families by having the opportunity to do what they think is best for their children.”

Deputy House Republican Leader David Hess

“The legislation we worked on for several months and passed last year was modeled after similar legislation that was fully vetted and successfully passed in a number of other states. We wanted to ensure we had a bill that would withstand such a challenge. This is a privately funded scholarship opportunity that makes programs of academic excellence available to moderate and low income families. We are not giving funds to religious institutions we are giving scholarships to families. It is the families’ choice where they choose to use the scholarships.”

Wednesday
Oct242012

AmericanFederationFor Children - U.S. Department of Education Interference Hurts D.C. Voucher Program Enrollment

Despite bigger appropriation and strong demand, fewer children enrolled for 2012-2013 school year

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 23, 2012)—The highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) enrolled 1,584 children from low-income families for the 2012-2013 school year—fewer students than last year—in a reduction that comes despite a near $5 million increase in funding over the previous school year.

The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (Trust), which administers the program, received nearly 1,500 new applications for the 2012-2013 school year, despite being told not to accept applications after March 31 of this year. In addition, the Trust was not given permission to hold scholarship lotteries for new applicants until July of this year.

The lower enrollment numbers are the result of a year-long effort by the U.S. Department of Education to limit participation in the OSP. In March, President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposal zeroed out funding for the program, contradicting the law he signed last year. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) then sent a letter to the president pressing him and the administration to reverse course and expedite full implementation of the program.

After several weeks of negotiations, Speaker Boehner and Senator Lieberman announced in June that an agreement had been reached with the Department that would fully implement the program. The Department’s overall implementation guidance to the Trust, however, resulted in just 319 children being offered new scholarships and prevented hundreds of additional children from enrolling, including eligible private school children from low-income families who were specifically excluded.

“It is simply tragic that fewer children are participating in the OSP this year given the availability of funds and the incredibly strong demand from low-income District families,” said Kevin P. Chavous, senior advisor to the American Federation for Children and a former D.C. Councilmember. “This program provides children who are most in need with access to a quality education, and it’s appalling that the U.S. Department of Education continues to stand in the way of that vital choice.”

A bipartisan agreement in 2011 reauthorized the D.C. OSP at $20 million annually for five years. Under the FY 2011 budget agreement, the OSP received $15.5 million in funding for the 2011-2012 school year. The appropriation for FY 2012 was $20 million, which covered the 2012-2013 school year. For FY 2013, Congress is currently operating under a continuing resolution through March 31, 2013, which includes authority for the OSP to spend at an annual rate of $20 million.

Following reauthorization of the OSP last year, the demand was so strong that enrollment went from just over 1,000 children to more than 1,600— a 60 percent increase for the 2010-2011 school year. Demand was equally strong heading into this school year.

“Nearly 1,500 low-income families submitted applications to enroll their children in the OSP, but DOE’s guidance meant only 319 were offered scholarships,” Chavous said. “That’s not in the spirit of giving every child hope, that’s not fighting for equal access regardless of family income, and that’s not following the law.”

Because of the limited number of new students participating, a credible federal evaluation of the program cannot be initiated this year. The previous evaluation of the program found that OSP students graduate at a rate of 91 percent—more than 20 percentage points higher than those interested in the program, but who did not receive a scholarship. A subsequent study by the D.C. Trust found that 94 percent of participating students graduated in 2010 and 2011, and 89 percent of those graduates enrolled in a two- or four-year college. The program also enjoys very high parental satisfaction, with 92 percent of parents reporting being very or somewhat happy with their child’s academic progress in the program.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is the only federally-funded private school voucher program. Since its inception in 2004, more than 11,000 families have applied for the program, and nearly 6,000 have received scholarships.

Read this release online here.

www.FederationforChildren.org