Republicans Block Pocan and Fudge Voucher Schools Amendment to K-12 Education Bill
Washington, D.C. — House Republicans today blocked an amendment by U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to the Republican education bill, H.R. 5. Reps. Fudge and Pocan offered an amendment that would keep public funding in public schools and restore key state education funding provisions:
“Keeping public funds in public schools ensures every child across the United States can receive a high-quality education, regardless of their economic condition,” said Rep. Pocan. “This bill radically rejects the notion that a high-quality public education is a commitment and a responsibility that must be sustained by both the states and the federal government. By dismantling the Title I funding formula, not only would public schools and students in low-income areas be harmed, it would also start the slide of taxpayer dollars to be used to create or expand state voucher programs. The Republican bill, H.R. 5 puts our country’s education system on a slippery slope towards a nationalized voucher program and the end of public education as we know it. In Wisconsin, we have spent over $1 billion on vouchers with little accountability and even less academic achievement to show for it.”
Wisconsin’s voucher program is central to an emerging national debate over the privatization of public education. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and many in the Republican Party have pushed the idea of expanding voucher schools nationwide – using Wisconsin as the model – without safeguarding the needs of students with disabilities and ensuring schools meet high standards of academic achievement.
Rep. Fudge expressed displeasure with the outcome of the vote on the amendment and H.R. 5 in its current form. “I am disappointed the committee did not adopt the Fudge-Pocan amendment. Every student in America has a right to a quality education. H.R. 5 does not protect that right. The addition of Title I portability, removal of maintenance of effort requirements, and continuation of the teacher salary loophole represents a significant step backwards in meeting the educational needs of low-income children. Our amendment supported the children ESEA was intended to help, which H.R. 5 fails to do. I refuse to fail our students and their families. They deserve better.”
According to a recent report released by the Center for American Progress, in her home state of Ohio portability would result in the loss of over $45 million dollars for schools above a 30 percent poverty rate, and an increase of over $27 million dollars for schools with a poverty rate of less than 15 percent.