No Fair, Say School Voucher Opponents - As Bill Passes House

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:29 PM EDT

( - Opponents of school voucher programs are complaining that the House held a vote on a school voucher bill for the District of Columbia on a night when many voucher opponents were in Baltimore for the Democrats' debate.

According to People for the American Way, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, asked House leaders to reschedule a vote on the D.C. voucher plan -- which ended up passing by a single vote Tuesday night.

"Representative [Tom] Delay's insistence on holding this vote at a time when it was difficult for African-American members to attend is a prime example of his highhanded approach to congressional leadership," said PFAW President Ralph Neas in a statement.

"Unfortunately, in this particular instance, it has resulted in the passage of a voucher experiment that risks the futures of District children."

Neas said he remains optimistic that the Senate will kill the bill. Said Neas, "It is outrageous to propose that taxes be used to fund this anti-public education agenda..."

PFAW describes itself as a longtime advocate for public education.

The District of Columbia has one of the worst public education systems in the country, and even the city's mayor, a Democrat, has joined the White House in supporting the school voucher bill that would provide almost 2,000 children with the financial assistance they need to attend private schools.

Supporters of school voucher programs accuse opponents of putting school bureaucracies ahead of the students whom those schools are supposed to serve.

See Earlier Stories:
House Vote on DC Vouchers Nears, Lobbying Intensifies (4 Sept. 2003)
Liberal Senator Says DC Vouchers Deserve a Trial Run (23 July 2003)