One of the most contentious budget debates this year may be over something the president did not include in his 2012 spending plan — school vouchers. Now more often called “scholarships,” vouchers have been debated for decades, but support for these initiatives is on the rise.’
Let’s start with D.C. After years of discussion, Congress established a plan in 2004 to give 1,700 students in Washington a voucher of up to $7,500 to attend private and religious schools in the city as alternatives to the frequently lousy neighborhood schools. The program was controversial from the start — it was the first federal funding for vouchers in three decades. But in 2009, under intense pressure from the teachers unions, Congress and the Administration began to dismantle the program and no new students are participating today. New Speaker of the House John Boehner says restoring the program is a top priority.