Commentary

Bipartisan Effort in U.S. Senate to Save D.C. Voucher Program

Senators Joe Lieberman, along with Senators Susan Collins, Dianne Feinstein, and Robert Byrd introduced legislation this morning to reauthorize and strengthen the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) for five years.

Via the Alliance for School Choice press release:

Under Senator Lieberman’s bill, the program would be preserved and strengthened significantly. The Lieberman bill would increase scholarship amounts to $9,000 for K-8 students and $11,000 for high school students—indexing the scholarship amounts to inflation. While these amounts remain significantly below the amounts for the D.C. Public Schools, they provide the necessary increases to account for inflation over the past five years.

The bill would also:

–Give scholarship priority to siblings of students who currently participate in the program

–Require participating schools to have a valid certificate of occupancy

–Require teachers of core subject matters to have bachelor’s degrees

–Require an Institute of Education Sciences annual evaluation of the program

–Require students to take nationally norm-referenced tests

I wrote about Democrats for school choice here.

My colleague Shikha Dalmia wrote about President Obama’s hypocrisy for not supporting the successful program in here.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.