What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for Private & Religious Schools : H.R. 2765. Fiscal 2004 District of Columbia Appropriations/Vote to Strike a Private School Voucher Program from the Underlying Bill.
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H.R. 2765. Fiscal 2004 District of Columbia Appropriations/Vote to Strike a Private School Voucher Program from the Underlying Bill.
house Roll Call 479     Sep 05, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

On roll call vote 478, the vote immediately preceding this vote, an amendment offered by Congressman Davis (R-VA) to create a $10 million private school voucher program in the District of Columbia was narrowly adopted by a 205-203 margin. The subject of this vote was an amendment drafted by Congresswoman Norton (D-DC) which would have stripped the Davis amendment from the underlying 2004 District of Columbia appropriation bill. In the view of Progressives, private school vouchers are not a long-term fix to problems in the nation's public education system. In fact, they argued, vouchers would drain money that would otherwise be available to improve public schools. The Davis amendment, they argued, would benefit only a small minority of public school students and, furthermore, the $7500 voucher provided in Davis's amendment would cover only a fraction of private school tuition costs (which often exceed $20,000 per year). Thus, the families of low-income students, even if they qualified for the voucher, would still be burdened with private school tuition costs. Progressives contended that students from middle and high-income families-and not students from lower-income families whom vouchers ostensibly target-would be the likely beneficiaries of private school vouchers. Conversely, in the view of Conservatives, private school vouchers can improve educational opportunities for those students who are stuck in a poor public school but would, with a voucher, be able to attend a private school. DC schools, Conservatives pointed out, rank among the worst in the nation in terms of test scores, funding per pupil, and class size. On a vote of 203-203, the Norton amendment was defeated (legislation is defeated when a tie vote occurs) and the DC private school voucher program remained in the underlying appropriations bill.

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