Black Alliance for Educational Options Issues Urgent Call to Action to Support Passage of Opportunity Scholarship Program

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The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) today issued an urgent call to action to people across the country to support passage of H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunities and Results Act.

The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) today issued an urgent call to action to people across the country to support passage of H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunities and Results Act. If adopted, this law would help expand the current D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which helps thousands of low-income minority families in Washington, D.C., send their children to private schools.

“On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Scholarships for Opportunities and Results Act. This law can benefit thousands of low-income minority families in the Washington, D.C. who desperately need new and better high quality educational options for their children,” said BAEO President Kenneth Campbell. “We are issuing an urgent call to people across the country to contact their Congressional representatives and let them know the critical importance of supporting this bill.”

BAEO also expressed outrage about the NAACP’s opposition to this program and similar programs that help low-income families rise up out of the ashes of failing public schools. “The fact that the NAACP opposes a program that gives options to low-income minority children is inexplicable,” said BAEO Chair Kevin P. Chavous. “Their call to action is based on lies and distortions about the program.”

In its call to action, the NAACP states that it opposes expansion because “the 5 year pilot program in D.C. was, by all accounts, a failure; neither the majority of D.C. residents nor their democratically elected representatives want the program; and due to our underlying opposition to school vouchers.” Mr. Chavous responded, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

  • Nearly 9,000 low-income families have applied to participate in the program since its inception in 2003.
  • Four separate polls conducted between 2007 and 2011 clearly show that D.C. residents support parental choice, and a February 2011 Lester and Associates poll showed that 74 percent support reauthorization of the OSP.
  • The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was created during the Williams administration by former Mayor Anthony Williams and Councilman Kevin P. Chavous.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., a Senior Advisor for Strategic Alliances for BAEO and former Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP urged the organization to take a second look at the program anew to get a better understanding of how it benefits those families that the NAACP represents. “Currently, middle- and upper-class District parents bypass public schools for private schools,” said Dr. Chavis. “Why? Because they want the best education for their children, and because they possess the capital to buy homes in neighborhoods with good schools or to pay their way out of public education altogether. We should not live in an America where being able to choose where your children are educated is an exclusive right only for the wealthy. BAEO unequivocally supports providing these same options for low-income families, and I urge officials at the NAACP to look at this program from that perspective,” said Dr. Chavis.

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