Classes in District public schools start Monday, and 216 students are hoping they won’t have to go back. About 70 parents, children and activists joined Thursday in front of the U.S. Department of Education to encourage Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to award vouchers to help the students pay for private school.
The students, who were offered vouchers worth as much as $7,500 toward tuition from the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program this spring before Duncan rescinded them in the face of the program’s uncertain future, were left to find placements in public and charter schools. Some families have complained that by the time the vouchers were rolled back, there were few spots available at competitive public schools.
“We’re hoping that Secretary Duncan is going to look out the window so he can see how strongly the parents support it,” said Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, one of the groups that organized the protest. “They just put families into a bad situation.”