The Corner

Marion Barry

endorses school choice:

I know it may surprise some that I would support a school voucher program, but I am proud to do so — and I especially support the D.C. scholarships. Many here in Washington also favor this program: community and business leaders, educators, parents, and elected officials who are putting children first. I would oppose this voucher program if it took money from the D.C. public schools, but it doesn’t.

I support this package because it provides much-needed financial support to all D.C. schools and because it offers parents a choice without hurting public schools. That’s a win-win situation. We must make sure that children in the District are given every chance to attend schools that work for them. To do anything else is wrong.

Moms, dads, aunts, uncles and other guardians in my community tell me that these programs are making a difference in their children’s lives and giving them hope they have never had. I salute them for working to make the right choices for their children. In March, I held a community meeting at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, where several families whose children have scholarships told me how much the program has done for them. One mom, Wanda Gaddis, has worked for a long time, including serving as a parent advocate at her daughter’s public elementary school, to make sure her daughter gets a great education. At the meeting, I learned that her daughter is attending a private school in Ward 8 through the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Gaddis told me, “The schools in D.C. were not educating my child. At first I did not have a choice, but I am so thankful that I and so many other parents did get choice with the Opportunity Scholarship Program. I can’t begin to tell you how much my child’s education has improved since starting with this program. It is a program that is helping to educate our children so they can have better, more productive lives and in turn create better communities here in Ward 8 and across D.C.”

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