Legislative Action Team Advisory

Thursday, December 07, 2006

IRA signs on to anti-voucher letter

The National Coalition
Public Education

December 6, 2006
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

This week, legislation to expand or dramatically alter the District of Columbia private school voucher “pilot” program may be attached as a part of other year-end legislation, such as a Continuing Resolution to fund government agencies or a tax-extenders package. The undersigned education, civil, labor, civil rights, and religious organizations that comprise the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE) strongly oppose any efforts to expand the program or to increase the income cap for participation in it. We urge you to reject any such change or expansion to this pilot program.

As previously passed by Congress, the D.C. voucher program is open to students whose family income does not exceed 185 percent of the national poverty level (NPL). Students are allowed to continue in the program if their family income does not exceed 200 percent of NPL. The fact that the program is fully subscribed demonstrates the emptiness of claims that any modification to the cap – or outright elimination of any income threshold – is needed. Furthermore, such a modification would undermine the purported objective of this five-year pilot program: to serve low-income students. We also believe that altering the income cap could damage the integrity of the pilot program that currently is under a Congressionally mandated evaluation.

The undersigned organizations appreciate your attention to these concerns and strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to raise, or eliminate, the income cap for the D.C. private school voucher program.


American Association of School Administrators
American Association of University Women
American Civil Liberties Union
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Federation of Teachers
American Jewish Committee
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Association of Education Service Agencies
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
Council of Great City Schools
International Reading Association
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America
National Alliance of Black School Educators
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Association of State Directors of Special Education
National Education Association
National PTA
National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition
National School Boards Association
People For the American Way
The Interfaith Alliance
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Auto Workers
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
Women of Reform Judaism