Trump could open door to expanding D.C. school voucher program, advocates say

Nov 29, 2016

By Emma Brown and Perry Stein

The District is home to the nation’s only federally funded school voucher program, and for the past eight years, advocates for the program have been on defense, fighting to keep it alive under a president who opposes the notion of using taxpayer dollars to pay tuition at private and religious schools.

But then Donald Trump, voucher supporter, was elected president. Now advocates see an opportunity to go on offense, not just to maintain but to expand the D.C. program, which pays for about 1,500 low-income children to attend private and parochial schools.

Trump’s pick for education secretary, announced Wednesday, cemented the notion that he intends to make good on his campaign-trail promise of using federal dollars to expand voucher programs, including the one in the District. Trump’s nominee, Michigan billionaire and conservative activist Betsy DeVos, has quietly helped introduce vouchers in many states nationwide, spending millions of dollars to support candidates who agree with her and to unseat those who do not.


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