Sunday, March 12, 2017

GOP lawmakers refuse to protect LGBT students and those with disabilities in school voucher bill - The Washington Post

GOP lawmakers refuse to protect LGBT students and those with disabilities in school voucher bill - The Washington Post:

GOP lawmakers refuse to protect LGBT students and those with disabilities in school voucher bill



There was something buried in the news that a U.S. House committee had just advanced a bill renewing federally funded school vouchers in Washington — the only such program in the country — and it is highly revealing about Republican priorities when it comes to protecting the civil rights of students.
A bill to extend the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act, known as SOAR, through 2022 was approved Friday by the House Oversight Committee, which is chaired by Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who spends a lot of time trying to tell D.C. residents what to do, even though he was elected by people in Utah. But the panel’s Republicans voted down Democratic efforts to add amendments that would protect the civil rights of students with disabilities and LGBT students.
SOAR was first approved by Congress in 2003 as a compromise that would provide federal money to low-income D.C. students to use for private and religious school tuition as long as it also gave extra money to charter schools and traditional public schools in the District. Since 2004, SOAR has given more than $675 million. It also survived several attempts by the Obama administration to kill it. There are now 1,154 students in the program, but the head of the nonprofit that administers the program recently said he expects new federal resources to expand.
Supporters say SOAR gives parents resources to choose the right school for their children, while opponents say it provides public support for unaccountable private and religious schools and GOP lawmakers refuse to protect LGBT students and those with disabilities in school voucher bill - The Washington Post:
From Reader Comments: 


Elizabeth Davis

55 minutes ago  -  Shared publicly
The DC voucher program has proven ineffective and lacks accountability. Not only have two GAO reports identified its repeated management and accountability failures, but also multiple Department of Education studies concluded that the program has failed to improve educational outcomes for participating students. Numerous studies have shown that the voucher program has not improved students’ reading or math scores, and has not had an effect on student satisfaction, motivation, engagement or views on school safety. 
The program has also been plagued by lack of oversight and issues concerning quality, as documented by GAO reports and a Washington Post special investigation. Problems, which have persisted for years an even after congressional intervention, include voucher schools operating in facilities so poor they did not have usable bathrooms, and a school that used a learning model based on music, stretching and meditation. 
Educators, parents and DC taxpayers continue to raise multiple concerns about a program that has not increased academic achievement for our most vulnerable children and strips them of their civil rights.
It is quite evident to the citizens of DC that Jason Chaffetz and other Republican members of the House Oversight Committee cares little about protecting the civil rights of students with disabilities and LGBTQ students. 
All the more need for DC statehood and the emancipation of the last colony.

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