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July 8, 2003
Committee on Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Davis:
On behalf of the 280,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), I would like to thank you and the other Members of the House Committee on Government Reform for considering H.R. 2556, the District of Columbia Parental Choice Incentive Act of 2003.
We all realize that simply giving more money to a broken public education monopoly is not the answer. In fact, Washington, D.C. already spends $9,650 per pupil a year, which is more than $3,000 above the national average. If spending were the issue, D.C. would have a top-notch education system, yet 76 percent of the District’s fourth graders scored at a “below basic” level.
We can no longer accept this failure. H.R. 2556 will provide at least $15 million in scholarships to low-income children in the District to help them attend the private school of their choice. More importantly, these scholarships are administered outside of the existing public school monopoly, and will be controlled the by the student and his or her parents.
Properly structured, we expect H.R. 2556 to unleash forces of innovation and competition to the benefit of all D.C. schoolchildren. CSE supports this legislation because it will, for the first time, bring real choice and real change to the moribund D.C. public school system.
School choice through individual scholarships will bring competition and will put students first. If we can make this work in D.C., it will be a model for states and localities to introduce real school choice in every school district in America.
Citizens for a Sound Economy
cc: House Leadership