As Congress struggles to reach a compromise to prevent a government shut-down in December and the Republican party scrambles to find a worthy conservative to be the next Speaker of the House, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found time to address… the District of Columbia’s public schools.

Let’s start with a basic fact: DC public schools are evolving. There is and should be continued debate on the best way to improve education for students in the District. However, the debate is the District’s to have. Congress should NOT be stepping in to force their opinions on DC residents.

Some might argue that HR 10 the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act is a sincere attempt to improve schools in the District by providing federal funds to low-income students to allow them to go attend private schools – even longtime DC Equality supporter Cory Booker got sucked in – but DC residents and local elected leaders have made it clear that we do not want this program. Additionally, research shows the program is ineffectual and potentially harmful to students.

John Boehner (R-OH) has tried to define his time as Speaker of the House with this legislation, so we can expect members to support it and undermine DC democracy as a farewell gift. Look no further than today’s mark-up to see clearly that this is  political grandstanding with no regard for DC residents.

If these members truly cared about improving DC public schools they would respect DC Home Rule and grant us full democratic equality and the authority to manage our local laws and budget without their constant delays and interference.

Luckily, there are still some members of Congress who respect the rights of DC residents, so a huge thanks to Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) for speaking out against this un-democratic legislation. 

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