Catholic Conference Questions Senators Stabenow and Levin’s Commitment to Quality Education for Poor Students
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LANSING)—Michigan Catholic Conference today expressed significant reservations about the interests of Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin to work for the quality and safe education of all students, especially the poor. The Conference’s concern follows the votes of Michigan’s two U.S. senators against an amendment that sought to protect the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.
“Some 1,700 poor children in the D.C. area annually are granted an opportunity through the Scholarship Program to receive a high quality education in a safe environment of their choice, but the votes cast by Senators Stabenow and Levin have created an uncertain future for those children for reasons that appear to be purely political,” says MCC Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long.
On the evening of Monday, March 9, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin joined a majority of senators in opposing an amendment sponsored by Senators Ensign (R-NV) and Lieberman (ID-CT) to the federal Omnibus Appropriations bill that would have eliminated restrictions on the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which annually grants low-income D.C. children a $7,500 voucher to attend a school of their choice.
Senators Stabenow and Levin’s votes are in disharmony with comments made by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the program. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Secretary Duncan, referring to the D.C. scholarship program, stated: “I don’t think it makes sense to take kids out of a school where they’re happy and safe and satisfied and learning. I think those kids need to stay in their school.”
“The votes cast by Senators Stabenow and Levin against the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program are highly disappointing, as they seem to believe that only the wealthy, the privileged and the elite should be able to decide how their children are educated,” stated Long.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.