Let’s Stop the D.C. School Voucher Program From Becoming Permanent

Congress may consider a bill to permanently reauthorize the school voucher program in Washington, D.C.—and the Center for Inquiry (CFI) needs your help to prevent its passage.

Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Tim Scott (R-SC) have introduced legislation, S. 2682, to permanently reauthorize the school voucher program in Washington, D.C. This voucher program, formally known as the Opportunity Scholarship Program, is the only federally funded school voucher program in the United States. It was approved in 2003 despite the fact that D.C. council members strongly opposed the program.

A 2018 study funded by the Department of Education found that 38 percent of D.C. voucher tuition dollars went to Catholic schools. Another 25 percent went to other faith-based schools. In 2019, a follow-up study found that vouchers have not led to any improvement in reading or math among participating schoolchildren. Previous studies have found a statistically significant negative impact on math performance. Taxpayer dollars should not be diverted to fund archaic religious instruction, nor should they fund a program in spite of clear, consistent evidence of its failure.

We at CFI believe that instead of supporting private and sectarian religious schools through vouchers, taxpayer money should be used to support and improve our shared public school system, which provides a religiously neutral, constitutionally sound, and evidence-based education for all students. Our children are better served by using public funds to make public schools stronger.

CFI urges you to use our pre-written form to write your representatives and urge them to oppose S. 2682 and the failed, unconstitutional, and unaccountable D.C. school voucher program.

We also urge you to follow up by calling your U.S. representative to reiterate your concerns. The Capitol switchboard can be reached at (202) 224-3121, and all you need is your zip code to be connected to your representative’s office.

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