This bill would prohibit the Dept. of Education from limiting the number of eligible students receiving District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) scholarships while reauthorizing the program through 2021. The Dept. of Education would also be blocked from preventing otherwise eligible students from participating because of:
The type of school the student previously attended;
Whether or not the individual previously received the scholarship or participated in OSP, or was a member of the control group used by the Institute of Education Sciences to carry out previous OSP evaluations.
Priorities for the award of scholarships to eligible students would be modified to give priority to students who:
In the preceding school year attended a school identified as a low-achieving school to the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE);
Certain students regardless of whether they have attended a private school.
OSP-participating schools must:
Conduct criminal background checks on school employees who have direct and unsupervised interactions with students;
Comply with all requests for data and information regarding certain reporting requirements.
Private schools that are participating in OSP must be accredited or in the process of seeking accreditation.
The Dept. of Education must make OSP funds available to eligible entities receiving a grant for administrative expenses and parental education and assistance, including a streamlining of the application process.
Previously unobligated OSP funds must be used to award new scholarships to students. The Dept. of Education may withhold specified OSP funds provided to the DC Mayor for DC public and charter schools for noncompliance with SOAR requirements.
Funds made available to support DC charter schools could be directed to the OSSE, which may transfer them to subgrantees that are:
Specific DC public charter schools in good standing or networks of such schools;
DC-based non-profit organizations with experience in successfully providing support or assistance to such schools or networks.