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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                     112-36

======================================================================



 
              SCHOLARSHIPS FOR OPPORTUNITY AND RESULTS ACT

                                _______
                                

 March 17, 2011.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Issa, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 471]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 471) to reauthorize the DC 
opportunity scholarship program, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Committee Statement and Views....................................    10
Section-by-Section...............................................    11
Explanation of Amendments........................................    16
Committee Consideration..........................................    16
Rollcall Votes...................................................    17
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................    19
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................    19
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    19
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................    19
Unfunded Mandate Statement.......................................    19
Earmark Identification...........................................    19
Committee Estimate...............................................    19
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...    20
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    21
Minority Views...................................................    30
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Scholarships for Opportunity and 
Results Act'' or the ``SOAR Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds the following:
          (1) Parents are best equipped to make decisions for their 
        children, including the educational setting that will best 
        serve the interests and educational needs of their child.
          (2) For many parents in the District of Columbia, public 
        school choice provided under the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965, as well as under other public school 
        choice programs, is inadequate. More educational options are 
        needed to ensure all families in the District of Columbia have 
        access to a quality education. In particular, funds are needed 
        to provide low-income parents with enhanced public 
        opportunities and private educational environments, regardless 
        of whether such environments are secular or nonsecular.
          (3) While the per student cost for students in the public 
        schools of the District of Columbia is one of the highest in 
        the United States, test scores for such students continue to be 
        among the lowest in the Nation. The National Assessment of 
        Educational Progress (NAEP), an annual report released by the 
        National Center for Education Statistics, reported in its 2009 
        study that students in the District of Columbia were being 
        outperformed by every State in the Nation. On the 2009 NAEP, 56 
        percent of fourth grade students scored ``below basic'' in 
        reading, and 44 percent scored ``below basic'' in mathematics. 
        Among eighth grade students, 49 percent scored ``below basic'' 
        in reading and 60 percent scored ``below basic'' in 
        mathematics. On the 2009 NAEP reading assessment, only 17 
        percent of the District of Columbia fourth grade students could 
        read proficiently, while only 13 percent of the eighth grade 
        students scored at the proficient or advanced level.
          (4) In 2003, Congress passed the DC School Choice Incentive 
        Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-199; 118 Stat. 126), to provide 
        opportunity scholarships to parents of students in the District 
        of Columbia to enable them to pursue a high-quality education 
        at a public or private elementary or secondary school of their 
        choice. The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DC OSP) under 
        such Act was part of a comprehensive 3-part funding arrangement 
        that also included additional funds for the District of 
        Columbia public schools, and additional funds for public 
        charter schools of the District of Columbia. The intent of the 
        approach was to ensure that progress would continue to be made 
        to improve public schools and public charter schools, and that 
        funding for the opportunity scholarship program would not lead 
        to a reduction in funding for the District of Columbia public 
        and charter schools. Resources would be available for a variety 
        of educational options that would give families in the District 
        of Columbia a range of choices with regard to the education of 
        their children.
          (5) The DC OSP was established in accordance with the Supreme 
        Court decision, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002), 
        which found that a program enacted for the valid secular 
        purpose of providing educational assistance to low-income 
        children in a demonstrably failing public school system is 
        constitutional if it is neutral with respect to religion and 
        provides assistance to a broad class of citizens who direct 
        government aid to religious and secular schools solely as a 
        result of their genuine and independent private choices.
          (6) Since the inception of the DC OSP, it has consistently 
        been oversubscribed. Parents express strong support for the 
        opportunity scholarship program. Rigorous studies of the 
        program by the Institute of Education Sciences have shown 
        significant improvements in parental satisfaction and in 
        reading scores that are more dramatic when only those students 
        consistently using the scholarships are considered. The program 
        also was found to result in significantly higher graduation 
        rates for DC OSP students.
          (7) The DC OSP is a program that offers families in need, in 
        the District of Columbia, important alternatives while public 
        schools are improved. This program should be reauthorized as 1 
        of a 3-part comprehensive funding strategy for the District of 
        Columbia school system that provides new and equal funding for 
        public schools, public charter schools, and opportunity 
        scholarships for students to attend private schools.

SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

  The purpose of this Act is to provide low-income parents residing in 
the District of Columbia, particularly parents of students who attend 
elementary schools or secondary schools identified for improvement, 
corrective action, or restructuring under section 1116 of the 
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6316), with 
expanded opportunities for enrolling their children in other schools in 
the District of Columbia, at least until the public schools in the 
District of Columbia have adequately addressed shortfalls in health, 
safety, and security, and the students in the District of Columbia 
public schools are testing in mathematics and reading at or above the 
national average.

SEC. 4. GENERAL AUTHORITY.

  (a) Opportunity Scholarships.--
          (1) In general.--From funds appropriated under section 
        14(a)(1), the Secretary shall award grants on a competitive 
        basis to eligible entities with approved applications under 
        section 5 to carry out a program to provide eligible students 
        with expanded school choice opportunities. The Secretary may 
        award a single grant or multiple grants, depending on the 
        quality of applications submitted and the priorities of this 
        Act.
          (2) Duration of grants.--The Secretary may make grants under 
        this subsection for a period of not more than 5 years.
  (b) DC Public Schools and Charter Schools.--From funds appropriated 
under paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 14(a), the Secretary shall 
provide funds to the Mayor of the District of Columbia, if the Mayor 
agrees to the requirements described in section 11(a), for--
          (1) the District of Columbia public schools to improve public 
        education in the District of Columbia; and
          (2) the District of Columbia public charter schools to 
        improve and expand quality public charter schools in the 
        District of Columbia.

SEC. 5. APPLICATIONS.

  (a) In General.--In order to receive a grant under section 4(a), an 
eligible entity shall submit an application to the Secretary at such 
time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the 
Secretary may require.
  (b) Contents.--The Secretary may not approve the request of an 
eligible entity for a grant under section 4(a) unless the entity's 
application includes--
          (1) a detailed description of--
                  (A) how the entity will address the priorities 
                described in section 6;
                  (B) how the entity will ensure that if more eligible 
                students seek admission in the program of the entity 
                than the program can accommodate, eligible students are 
                selected for admission through a random selection 
                process which gives weight to the priorities described 
                in section 6;
                  (C) how the entity will ensure that if more 
                participating eligible students seek admission to a 
                participating school than the school can accommodate, 
                participating eligible students are selected for 
                admission through a random selection process;
                  (D) how the entity will notify parents of eligible 
                students of the expanded choice opportunities in order 
                to allow the parents to make informed decisions;
                  (E) the activities that the entity will carry out to 
                provide parents of eligible students with expanded 
                choice opportunities through the awarding of 
                scholarships under section 7(a);
                  (F) how the entity will determine the amount that 
                will be provided to parents under section 7(a)(2) for 
                the payment of tuition, fees, and transportation 
                expenses, if any;
                  (G) how the entity will seek out private elementary 
                schools and secondary schools in the District of 
                Columbia to participate in the program;
                  (H) how the entity will ensure that each 
                participating school will meet the reporting and other 
                program requirements under this Act;
                  (I) how the entity will ensure that participating 
                schools submit to site visits by the entity as 
                determined to be necessary by the entity, except that a 
                participating school may not be required to submit to 
                more than 1 site visit per school year;
                  (J) how the entity will ensure that participating 
                schools are financially responsible and will use the 
                funds received under section 7 effectively;
                  (K) how the entity will address the renewal of 
                scholarships to participating eligible students, 
                including continued eligibility; and
                  (L) how the entity will ensure that a majority of its 
                voting board members or governing organization are 
                residents of the District of Columbia; and
          (2) an assurance that the entity will comply with all 
        requests regarding any evaluation carried out under section 
        9(a).

SEC. 6. PRIORITIES.

  In awarding grants under section 4(a), the Secretary shall give 
priority to applications from eligible entities that will most 
effectively--
          (1) in awarding scholarships under section 7(a), give 
        priority to--
                  (A) eligible students who, in the school year 
                preceding the school year for which the eligible 
                students are seeking a scholarship, attended an 
                elementary school or secondary school identified for 
                improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under 
                section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
                Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6316);
                  (B) students who have been awarded a scholarship in a 
                preceding year under this Act or the DC School Choice 
                Incentive Act of 2003 (sec. 38-1851.01 et seq., D.C. 
                Official Code), as such Act was in effect on the day 
                before the date of the enactment of this Act, but who 
                have not used the scholarship, including eligible 
                students who were provided notification of selection 
                for a scholarship for school year 2009-2010, which was 
                later rescinded in accordance with direction from the 
                Secretary of Education; and
                  (C) students whose household includes a sibling or 
                other child who is already participating in the program 
                of the eligible entity under this Act, regardless of 
                whether such students have, in the past, been assigned 
                as members of a control study group for the purposes of 
                an evaluation under section 9(a);
          (2) target resources to students and families that lack the 
        financial resources to take advantage of available educational 
        options; and
          (3) provide students and families with the widest range of 
        educational options.

SEC. 7. USE OF FUNDS.

  (a) Opportunity Scholarships.--
          (1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), an 
        eligible entity receiving a grant under section 4(a) shall use 
        the grant funds to provide eligible students with scholarships 
        to pay the tuition, fees, and transportation expenses, if any, 
        to enable the eligible students to attend the District of 
        Columbia private elementary school or secondary school of their 
        choice beginning in school year 2011-2012. Each such eligible 
        entity shall ensure that the amount of any tuition or fees 
        charged by a school participating in such entity's program 
        under this Act to an eligible student participating in the 
        program does not exceed the amount of tuition or fees that the 
        school charges to students who do not participate in the 
        program.
          (2) Payments to parents.--An eligible entity receiving a 
        grant under section 4(a) shall make scholarship payments under 
        the entity's program under this Act to the parent of the 
        eligible student participating in the program, in a manner 
        which ensures that such payments will be used for the payment 
        of tuition, fees, and transportation expenses (if any), in 
        accordance with this Act.
          (3) Amount of assistance.--
                  (A) Varying amounts permitted.--Subject to the other 
                requirements of this section, an eligible entity 
                receiving a grant under section 4(a) may award 
                scholarships in larger amounts to those eligible 
                students with the greatest need.
                  (B) Annual limit on amount.--
                          (i) Limit for school year 2011-2012.--The 
                        amount of assistance provided to any eligible 
                        student by an eligible entity under the 
                        entity's program under this Act for school year 
                        2011-2012 may not exceed--
                                  (I) $8,000 for attendance in 
                                kindergarten through grade 8; and
                                  (II) $12,000 for attendance in grades 
                                9 through 12.
                          (ii) Cumulative inflation adjustment.--
                        Beginning the school year following the school 
                        year of the date of the enactment of this Act, 
                        the Secretary shall adjust the maximum amounts 
                        of assistance described in clause (i) for 
                        inflation, as measured by the percentage 
                        increase, if any, from the preceding fiscal 
                        year in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban 
                        Consumers, published by the Bureau of Labor 
                        Statistics of the Department of Labor.
          (4) Participating school requirements.--None of the funds 
        provided under this Act for opportunity scholarships may be 
        used by an eligible student to enroll in a participating 
        private school unless the participating school--
                  (A) has and maintains a valid certificate of 
                occupancy issued by the District of Columbia;
                  (B) makes readily available to all prospective 
                students information on its school accreditation;
                  (C) in the case of a school that has been operating 
                for 5 years or less, submits to the eligible entity 
                administering the program proof of adequate financial 
                resources reflecting the financial sustainability of 
                the school and the school's ability to be in operation 
                through the school year;
                  (D) agrees to submit to site visits as determined to 
                be necessary by the eligible entity pursuant to section 
                5(b)(1)(I);
                  (E) has financial systems, controls, policies, and 
                procedures to ensure that funds are used according to 
                this Act; and
                  (F) ensures that each teacher of core subject matter 
                in the school has a baccalaureate degree or equivalent 
                degree, whether such degree was awarded in or outside 
                of the United States.
  (b) Administrative Expenses.--An eligible entity receiving a grant 
under section 4(a) may use not more than 3 percent of the amount 
provided under the grant each year for the administrative expenses of 
carrying out its program under this Act during the year, including--
          (1) determining the eligibility of students to participate;
          (2) selecting eligible students to receive scholarships;
          (3) determining the amount of scholarships and issuing the 
        scholarships to eligible students;
          (4) compiling and maintaining financial and programmatic 
        records; and
          (5) conducting site visits as described in section 
        5(b)(1)(I).
  (c) Parental Assistance.--An eligible entity receiving a grant under 
section 4(a) may use not more than 2 percent of the amount provided 
under the grant each year for the expenses of educating parents about 
the entity's program under this Act, and assisting parents through the 
application process, under this Act, including--
          (1) providing information about the program and the 
        participating schools to parents of eligible students;
          (2) providing funds to assist parents of students in meeting 
        expenses that might otherwise preclude the participation of 
        eligible students in the program; and
          (3) streamlining the application process for parents.
  (d) Student Academic Assistance.--An eligible entity receiving a 
grant under section 4(a) may use not more than 1 percent of the amount 
provided under the grant each year for expenses to provide tutoring 
services to participating eligible students that need additional 
academic assistance. If there are insufficient funds to provide 
tutoring services to all such students in a year, the eligible entity 
shall give priority in such year to students who previously attended an 
elementary school or secondary school that was identified for 
improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under section 1116 of 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6316).

SEC. 8. NONDISCRIMINATION AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATING 
                    SCHOOLS.

  (a) In General.--An eligible entity or a school participating in any 
program under this Act shall not discriminate against program 
participants or applicants on the basis of race, color, national 
origin, religion, or sex.
  (b) Applicability and Single Sex Schools, Classes, or Activities.--
          (1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
        the prohibition of sex discrimination in subsection (a) shall 
        not apply to a participating school that is operated by, 
        supervised by, controlled by, or connected to a religious 
        organization to the extent that the application of subsection 
        (a) is inconsistent with the religious tenets or beliefs of the 
        school.
          (2) Single sex schools, classes, or activities.--
        Notwithstanding subsection (a) or any other provision of law, a 
        parent may choose and a school may offer a single sex school, 
        class, or activity.
          (3) Applicability.--For purposes of this Act, the provisions 
        of section 909 of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 
        1688) shall apply to this Act as if section 909 of the 
        Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1688) were part of this 
        Act.
  (c) Children With Disabilities.--Nothing in this Act may be construed 
to alter or modify the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities 
Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.).
  (d) Religiously Affiliated Schools.--
          (1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
        a school participating in any program under this Act that is 
        operated by, supervised by, controlled by, or connected to, a 
        religious organization may exercise its right in matters of 
        employment consistent with title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 
        1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1 et seq.), including the exemptions in 
        such title.
          (2) Maintenance of purpose.--Notwithstanding any other 
        provision of law, funds made available under this Act to 
        eligible students, which are used at a participating school as 
        a result of their parents' choice, shall not, consistent with 
        the first amendment of the Constitution, necessitate any change 
        in the participating school's teaching mission, require any 
        participating school to remove religious art, icons, 
        scriptures, or other symbols, or preclude any participating 
        school from retaining religious terms in its name, selecting 
        its board members on a religious basis, or including religious 
        references in its mission statements and other chartering or 
        governing documents.
  (e) Rule of Construction.--A scholarship (or any other form of 
support provided to parents of eligible students) under this Act shall 
be considered assistance to the student and shall not be considered 
assistance to the school that enrolls the eligible student. The amount 
of any scholarship (or other form of support provided to parents of an 
eligible student) under this Act shall not be treated as income of the 
parents for purposes of Federal tax laws or for determining eligibility 
for any other Federal program.
  (f) Requests for Data and Information.--Each school participating in 
a program funded under this Act shall comply with all requests for data 
and information regarding evaluations conducted under section 9(a).
  (g) Rules of Conduct and Other School Policies.--A participating 
school, including the schools described in subsection (d), may require 
eligible students to abide by any rules of conduct and other 
requirements applicable to all other students at the school.
  (h) Nationally Norm-Referenced Standardized Tests.--
          (1) In general.--Each participating school shall comply with 
        any testing requirements determined to be necessary for 
        evaluation under section 9(a)(2)(A)(i).
          (2) Make-up session.--If a participating school does not 
        administer a nationally norm-referenced standardized test or 
        the Institute of Education Sciences does not receive data on a 
        student who is receiving an opportunity scholarship, then the 
        Secretary (through the Institute of Education Sciences of the 
        Department of Education) shall administer such test at least 
        one time during a school year for each student receiving an 
        opportunity scholarship.

SEC. 9. EVALUATIONS.

  (a) In General.--
          (1) Duties of the secretary and the mayor.--The Secretary and 
        the Mayor of the District of Columbia shall--
                  (A) jointly enter into an agreement with the 
                Institute of Education Sciences of the Department of 
                Education to evaluate annually the performance of 
                students who received scholarships under the 5-year 
                program under this Act;
                  (B) jointly enter into an agreement to monitor and 
                evaluate the use of funds authorized and appropriated 
                for the District of Columbia public schools and the 
                District of Columbia public charter schools under this 
                Act; and
                  (C) make the evaluations described in subparagraph 
                (A) and (B) public in accordance with subsection (c).
          (2) Duties of the secretary.--The Secretary, through a grant, 
        contract, or cooperative agreement, shall--
                  (A) ensure that the evaluation under paragraph 
                (1)(A)--
                          (i) is conducted using the strongest possible 
                        research design for determining the 
                        effectiveness of the opportunity scholarship 
                        program under this Act; and
                          (ii) addresses the issues described in 
                        paragraph (4); and
                  (B) disseminate information on the impact of the 
                program--
                          (i) in increasing the academic growth and 
                        achievement of participating eligible students; 
                        and
                          (ii) on students and schools in the District 
                        of Columbia.
          (3) Duties of the institute of education sciences.--The 
        Institute of Education Sciences of the Department of Education 
        shall--
                  (A) use a grade appropriate, nationally norm-
                referenced standardized test each school year to assess 
                participating eligible students;
                  (B) measure the academic achievement of all 
                participating eligible students; and
                  (C) work with the eligible entities to ensure that 
                the parents of each student who applies for a 
                scholarship under this Act (regardless of whether the 
                student receives the scholarship) and the parents of 
                each student participating in the scholarship program 
                under this Act, agree that the student will participate 
                in the measurements given annually by the Institute of 
                Educational Sciences for the period for which the 
                student applied for or received the scholarship, 
                respectively, except that nothing in this subparagraph 
                shall affect a student's priority for an opportunity 
                scholarship as provided under section 6.
          (4) Issues to be evaluated.--The issues to be evaluated under 
        paragraph (1)(A) shall include the following:
                  (A) A comparison of the academic growth and 
                achievement of participating eligible students in the 
                measurements described in paragraph (3) to the academic 
                growth and achievement of the eligible students in the 
                same grades who sought to participate in the 
                scholarship program under this Act but were not 
                selected.
                  (B) The success of the program in expanding choice 
                options for parents of participating eligible students, 
                improving parental and student satisfaction of such 
                parents and students, respectively, and increasing 
                parental involvement of such parents in the education 
                of their children.
                  (C) The reasons parents of participating eligible 
                students choose for their children to participate in 
                the program, including important characteristics for 
                selecting schools.
                  (D) A comparison of the retention rates, high school 
                graduation rates, and college admission rates of 
                participating eligible students with the retention 
                rates, high school graduation rates, and college 
                admission rates of students of similar backgrounds who 
                do not participate in such program.
                  (E) A comparison of the safety of the schools 
                attended by participating eligible students and the 
                schools in the District of Columbia attended by 
                students who do not participate in the program, based 
                on the perceptions of the students and parents.
                  (F) Such other issues with respect to participating 
                eligible students as the Secretary considers 
                appropriate for inclusion in the evaluation, such as 
                the impact of the program on public elementary schools 
                and secondary schools in the District of Columbia.
                  (G) An analysis of the issues described in 
                subparagraphs (A) through (F) by applying such 
                subparagraphs by substituting ``the subgroup of 
                participating eligible students who have used each 
                opportunity scholarship awarded to such students under 
                this Act to attend a participating school'' for 
                ``participating eligible students'' each place such 
                term appears.
          (5) Prohibition.--Personally identifiable information 
        regarding the results of the measurements used for the 
        evaluations may not be disclosed, except to the parents of the 
        student to whom the information relates.
  (b) Reports.--The Secretary shall submit to the Committees on 
Appropriations, Education and the Workforce, and Oversight and 
Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the Committees on 
Appropriations, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate--
          (1) annual interim reports, not later than April 1 of the 
        year following the year of the date of enactment of this Act, 
        and each subsequent year through the year in which the final 
        report is submitted under paragraph (2), on the progress and 
        preliminary results of the evaluation of the opportunity 
        scholarship program funded under this Act; and
          (2) a final report, not later than 1 year after the final 
        year for which a grant is made under section 4(a), on the 
        results of the evaluation of the program.
  (c) Public Availability.--All reports and underlying data gathered 
pursuant to this section shall be made available to the public upon 
request, in a timely manner following submission of the applicable 
report under subsection (b), except that personally identifiable 
information shall not be disclosed or made available to the public.
  (d) Limit on Amount Expended.--The amount expended by the Secretary 
to carry out this section for any fiscal year may not exceed 5 percent 
of the total amount appropriated under section 14(a)(1) for the fiscal 
year.

SEC. 10. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

  (a) Activities Reports.--Each eligible entity receiving funds under 
section 4(a) during a year shall submit a report to the Secretary not 
later than July 30 of the following year regarding the activities 
carried out with the funds during the preceding year.
  (b) Achievement Reports.--
          (1) In general.--In addition to the reports required under 
        subsection (a), each eligible entity receiving funds under 
        section 4(a) shall, not later than September 1 of the year 
        during which the second school year of the entity's program is 
        completed and each of the next 2 years thereafter, submit to 
        the Secretary a report, including any pertinent data collected 
        in the preceding 2 school years, concerning--
                  (A) the academic growth and achievement of students 
                participating in the program;
                  (B) the high school graduation and college admission 
                rates of students who participate in the program, where 
                appropriate; and
                  (C) parental satisfaction with the program.
          (2) Prohibiting disclosure of personal information.--No 
        report under this subsection may contain any personally 
        identifiable information.
  (c) Reports to Parents.--
          (1) In general.--Each eligible entity receiving funds under 
        section 4(a) shall ensure that each school participating in the 
        entity's program under this Act during a school year reports at 
        least once during the year to the parents of each of the 
        school's students who are participating in the program on--
                  (A) the student's academic achievement, as measured 
                by a comparison with the aggregate academic achievement 
                of other participating students at the student's school 
                in the same grade or level, as appropriate, and the 
                aggregate academic achievement of the student's peers 
                at the student's school in the same grade or level, as 
                appropriate;
                  (B) the safety of the school, including the incidence 
                of school violence, student suspensions, and student 
                expulsions; and
                  (C) the accreditation status of the school.
          (2) Prohibiting disclosure of personal information.--No 
        report under this subsection may contain any personally 
        identifiable information, except as to the student who is the 
        subject of the report to that student's parent.
  (d) Report to Congress.--Not later than 6 months after the first 
appropriation of funds under section 14, and each succeeding year 
thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on 
Appropriations, Education and the Workforce, and Oversight and 
Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the Committees on 
Appropriations, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, an annual report on 
the findings of the reports submitted under subsections (a) and (b).

SEC. 11. DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND DC PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS.

  (a) Condition of Receipt of Funds.--As a condition of receiving funds 
under this Act on behalf of the District of Columbia public schools and 
the District of Columbia public charter schools, the Mayor shall agree 
to carry out the following:
          (1) Information requests.--Ensure that all the District of 
        Columbia public schools and the District of Columbia public 
        charter schools comply with all reasonable requests for 
        information for purposes of the evaluation under section 9(a).
          (2) Agreement with the secretary.--Enter into the agreement 
        described in section 9(a)(1)(B) to monitor and evaluate the use 
        of funds authorized and appropriated for the District of 
        Columbia public schools and the District of Columbia public 
        charter schools under this Act.
          (3) Submission of report.--Not later than 6 months after the 
        first appropriation of funds under section 14, and each 
        succeeding year thereafter, submit to the Committee on 
        Appropriations, the Committee on Education and the Workforce, 
        and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the 
        House of Representatives, and the Committee on Appropriations, 
        the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and 
        the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of 
        the Senate, information on--
                  (A) how the funds authorized and appropriated under 
                this Act for the District of Columbia public schools 
                and the District of Columbia public charter schools 
                were used in the preceding school year; and
                  (B) how such funds are contributing to student 
                achievement.
  (b) Enforcement.--If, after reasonable notice and an opportunity for 
a hearing for the Mayor, the Secretary determines that the Mayor has 
not been in compliance with 1 or more of the requirements described in 
subsection (a), the Secretary may withhold from the Mayor, in whole or 
in part, further funds under this Act for the District of Columbia 
public schools and the District of Columbia public charter schools.
  (c) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed 
to reduce, or otherwise affect, funding provided under this Act for the 
opportunity scholarship program under this Act.

SEC. 12. TRANSITION PROVISIONS.

  (a) Repeal.--The DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 (sec. 38-
1851.01 et seq., D.C. Official Code) is repealed.
  (b) Special Rules.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law--
          (1) funding appropriated to provide opportunity scholarships 
        for students in the District of Columbia under the heading 
        ``Federal Payment for School Improvement'' in title IV of 
        division D of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (Public Law 
        111-8; 123 Stat. 653), the heading ``Federal Payment for School 
        Improvement'' in title IV of division C of the Consolidated 
        Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 111-117; 123 Stat. 3181), 
        or any other Act, may be used to provide opportunity 
        scholarships under section 7(a) for the 2011-2012 school year 
        to students who have not previously received such scholarships;
          (2) the fourth and fifth provisos under the heading ``Federal 
        Payment for School Improvement'' of title IV of Division C of 
        the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law 111-117; 
        123 Stat. 3181) shall not apply; and
          (3) any unobligated amounts reserved to carry out the 
        provisos described in paragraph (2) shall be made available to 
        an eligible entity receiving a grant under section 4(a)--
                  (A) for administrative expenses described in section 
                7(b); or
                  (B) to provide opportunity scholarships under section 
                7(a), including to provide such scholarships for the 
                2011-2012 school year to students who have not 
                previously received such scholarships.
  (c) Multiyear Awards.--The recipient of a grant or contract under the 
DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 (sec. 38-1851.01 et seq., D.C. 
Official Code), as such Act was in effect on the day before the date of 
the enactment of this Act, shall continue to receive funds in 
accordance with the terms and conditions of such grant or contract, 
except that--
          (1) the provisos relating to opportunity scholarships in the 
        Acts described in subsection (b)(1) shall not apply; and
          (2) the memorandum of understanding described in subsection 
        (d), including any revision made under such subsection, shall 
        apply.
  (d) Memorandum of Understanding.--The Secretary and the Mayor of the 
District of Columbia shall revise the memorandum of understanding 
entered into under the DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 (sec. 38-
1851.01 et seq., D.C. Official Code), as such Act was in effect on the 
day before the date of the enactment of this Act, to address--
          (1) the implementation of the opportunity scholarship program 
        under this Act; and
          (2) how the Mayor will ensure that the District of Columbia 
        public schools and the District of Columbia public charter 
        schools comply with all the reasonable requests for information 
        as necessary to fulfill the requirements for evaluations 
        conducted under section 9(a).
  (e) Orderly Transition.--Subject to subsections (c) and (d), the 
Secretary shall take such steps as the Secretary determines to be 
appropriate to provide for the orderly transition to the authority of 
this Act from any authority under the provisions of the DC School 
Choice Incentive Act of 2003 (sec. 38-1851.01 et seq., D.C. Official 
Code), as such Act was in effect on the day before the date of 
enactment of this Act.

SEC. 13. DEFINITIONS.

  As used in this Act:
          (1) Elementary school.--The term ``elementary school'' means 
        an institutional day or residential school, including a public 
        elementary charter school, that provides elementary education, 
        as determined under District of Columbia law.
          (2) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means any 
        of the following:
                  (A) A nonprofit organization.
                  (B) A consortium of nonprofit organizations.
          (3) Eligible student.--The term ``eligible student'' means a 
        student who is a resident of the District of Columbia and comes 
        from a household--
                  (A) receiving assistance under the supplemental 
                nutrition assistance program established under the Food 
                and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.); or
                  (B) whose income does not exceed--
                          (i) 185 percent of the poverty line; or
                          (ii) in the case of a student participating 
                        in the opportunity scholarship program in the 
                        preceding year under this Act or the DC School 
                        Choice Incentive Act of 2003 (sec. 38-1851.01 
                        et seq., D.C. Official Code), as such Act was 
                        in effect on the day before the date of 
                        enactment of this Act, 300 percent of the 
                        poverty line.
          (4) Mayor.--The term ``Mayor'' means the Mayor of the 
        District of Columbia.
          (5) Parent.--The term ``parent'' has the meaning given that 
        term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
        Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).
          (6) Participating eligible student.--The term ``participating 
        eligible student'' means an eligible student awarded an 
        opportunity scholarship under this Act, without regard to 
        whether the student uses the scholarship to attend a 
        participating school.
          (7) Participating school.--The term ``participating school'' 
        means a private elementary school or secondary school 
        participating in the opportunity scholarship program of an 
        eligible entity under this Act.
          (8) Poverty line.--The term ``poverty line'' has the meaning 
        given that term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).
          (9) Secondary school.--The term ``secondary school'' means an 
        institutional day or residential school, including a public 
        secondary charter school, that provides secondary education, as 
        determined under District of Columbia law, except that the term 
        does not include any education beyond grade 12.
          (10) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Education.

SEC. 14. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  (a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated $60,000,000 
for fiscal year 2012 and for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years, of 
which--
          (1) one-third shall be made available to carry out the 
        opportunity scholarship program under this Act for each fiscal 
        year;
          (2) one-third shall be made available to carry out section 
        4(b)(1) for each fiscal year; and
          (3) one-third shall be made available to carry out section 
        4(b)(2) for each fiscal year.
  (b) Apportionment.--If the total amount of funds appropriated under 
subsection (a) for a fiscal year does not equal $60,000,000, the funds 
shall be apportioned in the manner described in subsection (a) for such 
fiscal year.

                     Committee Statement and Views


                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    The Committee is concerned with the persistent and systemic 
failings of schools in the DC Public School system, 
particularly those located in traditionally low-income areas. 
To address these shortcomings, the Committee supports 
reauthorizing the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP).
    H.R. 471, the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results 
(SOAR) Act, reauthorizes and makes improvements to the DC OSP. 
The legislation increases the scholarship amount from $7,500 
generally to up to $8,000 for elementary students and up to 
$12,000 for secondary students. The legislation also continues 
and strengthens reporting requirements to determine the 
effectiveness of the program, while enhancing the rigor of 
eligibility requirements pertaining to private schools that 
participate in the program.
    H.R. 471 authorizes $60 million to be appropriated annually 
for each of the next five fiscal years. Consistent with the 
``three-sector'' approach to educational improvement in the 
District, the funding is equally divided among the DC OSP, the 
DC public schools, and DC public charter schools.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The United States Constitution grants Congress the 
authority ``To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases 
Whatsoever over said District . . .''
    Congress has used its Constitutional authority to address 
what it deems as significant issues in the District. In 1996, 
due to the long-standing educational failures of the DC public 
schools, the D.C. School Reform Act (P.L. 104-134) was enacted, 
creating charter schools in the district to increase education 
options for students enrolled in public schools that were 
consistently under-performing.
    In 2003, continuing education reform efforts in DC, 
Congress created the first federally-funded, private school 
voucher program in the country, the DC OSP. Under what was 
termed the ``three-sector'' approach to school improvement in 
the District, the new law also provided additional, direct 
federal payments to DC public schools and DC public charter 
schools. The funding was to be used to help improve the 
education of students enrolled in traditional public schools 
and help improve and expand quality charter schools.
    After several successful years of offering these 
scholarships to needy families, the Obama Administration 
rescinded 216 scholarships that had been promised to new 
enrollees who were due to enter the DC OSP in the 2009-2010 
school year. The Democratic Congress also passed an FY 2010 
omnibus appropriations bill specifying that the use of any 
funds provided in any act for Opportunity Scholarships after 
the 2009-2010 school year would only be available if the 
program were to be reauthorized and the District of Columbia 
were to adopt legislation approving that reauthorization.
    While public education in the District continues to 
improve, there is still much work to be done. DC consistently 
has an average per pupil expenditure higher than any state, 
while its students' test scores are consistently among the 
lowest in the Nation.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    The DC OSP was first created as part of H.R. 2556, the D.C. 
Parental Choice Incentive Act, adopted by the House Government 
Reform Committee by a 22-21 vote on July 10, 2003. That 
legislation was subsequently incorporated into H.R. 2776, the 
FY 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on 
January 23, 2004 (P.L. 108-199). Appropriations for the program 
were authorized through FY 2008.
    The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8) specified 
that the use of any funds in any act for Opportunity 
Scholarships after the 2009-2010 school year shall be available 
only upon reauthorization of the program and the adoption of 
legislation by the District of Columbia approving such 
reauthorization. The Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 
111-117) eliminated this restriction on funding, but specified 
that the $13.2 million it allocated to Opportunity Scholarships 
could be used to provide them only to students who received 
scholarships in the 2009-2010 school year.
    The Committee's Health Care, D.C., Census, and National 
Archives Subcommittee held a hearing on the DC OSP and H.R. 471 
on March 1, 2011. The full Oversight and Government Reform 
Committee then reported the legislation favorably by a vote of 
21 to 14 on March 10, 2011.

                           Section-by-Section


Section 1. Short title

    This Act may be cited as the Scholarships for Opportunity 
and Results (SOAR) Act.

Section 2. Findings

    Parents are best equipped to make decisions for their 
children, including the educational setting that will best 
serve the interests and educational needs of their children. 
The per student cost for students in DC public schools is one 
of the highest in the United States despite the fact that test 
scores for such students continue to be among the lowest.
    Congress passed the DC School Choice Incentive Act in 2003 
to provide opportunity scholarships to students in DC as part 
of a three-sector approach that also includes the financing of 
improvements in the District's traditional public schools and 
public charter schools. Parents have expressed strong support 
for the DC OSP, and studies conducted by the Institute of 
Education Sciences have shown significant improvements in 
parental satisfaction, reading scores, and graduation rates for 
students participating in the program.
    The DC OSP offers needy District families important 
alternatives while public schools are being improved. This 
program should be reauthorized as one prong of a three part 
comprehensive funding strategy for the District of Columbia 
school system--one that provides new and equal funding for 
public schools, public charter schools, and opportunity 
scholarships for students to attend private schools.

Section 3. Purpose

    The purpose of the SOAR Act is to provide low-income 
parents residing in DC with expanded opportunities for 
enrolling their children in other schools within DC, at least 
until the public schools in DC have adequately addressed 
shortfalls in health, safety, and security, and the students in 
the DC public schools are testing at or above the national 
average in mathematics and reading.

Section 4. General authority

    The Secretary shall award grants on a competitive basis to 
eligible entities that will provide students with expanded 
school choice opportunities. The Secretary shall award grants 
for not longer than five years.
    The Secretary shall provide funds to the Mayor of DC to be 
used to improve education in public schools and to improve and 
expand quality public charter schools in DC.

Section 5. Applications

    The Secretary will select an eligible entity or entities to 
manage the DC OSP based on specific criteria that ensures 
eligible students are able to receive scholarships through a 
random selection process if there are more students than the 
program can accommodate. The entity will provide guidance to 
parents in applying for the scholarship program. The entity 
will determine the amount that will be provided to parents for 
tuition, transportation and any other necessary expenses. The 
entity also will ensure that participating schools are 
financially responsible and that they address the renewal 
process of scholarships for participating eligible students. 
The Secretary may not require an eligible entity to conduct 
more than one annual site visit per participating school. The 
entity also must provide assurances that it will comply with 
all requests regarding the program's evaluation.

Section 6. Priorities

    Priority in scholarship eligibility is given to those 
students who attended an elementary or secondary school 
identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring 
under section 116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
of 1965; those who have been awarded a scholarship in a prior 
year, including those students whose scholarships were 
rescinded by the Secretary of Education; those who are siblings 
of students who have been awarded a scholarship; and those who 
are students whose household includes a sibling or other child 
who is already participating in the program.

Section 7. Use of funds

    Funds provided under this Act for the DC OSP are to provide 
eligible students with scholarships to pay the tuition, fees, 
and transportation expenses necessary to attend a DC private 
elementary school or secondary school of their choice. The 
eligible entity must ensure that the tuition and fees being 
charged to a participating student do not exceed the tuition 
and fees charged to students who are not participating in the 
program. The amount of assistance provided to any eligible 
student for school year 2011-2012 may not exceed $8,000 per 
year for attendance in Kindergarten through eighth grade, or 
$12,000 per year for attendance in ninth through twelfth 
grades. The Secretary of Education will be given the authority 
to adjust the scholarship amounts for each succeeding year, 
based on the rate of inflation as determined by the Department 
of Labor.
    Schools participating in the program must: maintain a valid 
certificate of occupancy issued by the District of Columbia; 
make readily available information on its school accreditation; 
demonstrate that it has adequate financial resources to prove 
financial sustainability, if the schools have been operating 
for less than five years; agree to an annual site visit by the 
administrating entity; have financial systems in place to 
ensure funds are used according to this Act; and ensure that 
each teacher of core subject matter has a baccalaureate (or 
equivalent degree if educated outside the U.S.).
    The eligible entity receiving a grant may not use more than 
3% of the total grant amount each year to carry out 
administrative expenses, which include expenses incurred in: 
determining students' eligibility to participate in the 
program; selecting eligible students to receive scholarships; 
determining the scholarship amounts; filing and maintaining 
financial and programmatic records; and conducting the annual 
site visit.
    The eligible entity receiving a grant may not use more than 
2% of the total grant amount each year for educating parents 
about the program and assisting them with the application.
    The eligible entity receiving a grant may not use more than 
1% of the total grant amount each year for tutoring services 
for participating students in need of academic assistance.

Section 8. Nondiscrimination and other requirements for participating 
        schools

    An eligible entity or a school participating in the program 
shall not discriminate against program participants or 
applicants on the basis of race, color, national origin, 
religion, or sex. Each school must comply with all requests for 
data and information regarding evaluations. Participating 
schools may require eligible students to abide by any rules of 
conduct applicable to all other students at the school. Each 
participating school shall administer a nationally norm-
referenced standardized test in reading and math, of which the 
results of the test shall be reported to the students' parents 
or legal guardians.

Section 9. Evaluations

    The Secretary and the Mayor are to work jointly with the 
Institute of Education and Sciences (IES) of the Department of 
Education to evaluate annually the performance of students who 
received scholarships, and to monitor and evaluate the use of 
funds authorized and appropriated for DC public schools and DC 
public charter schools.
    The Secretary, through a grant, contract, or cooperative 
agreement, is to conduct the strongest possible research design 
to determine the effectiveness of the DC OSP. The IES shall 
measure the academic growth and achievement of all 
participating eligible students. In addition to academic 
achievement, the study will compare the retention rates, high 
school graduation rates and college admission rates of 
students, and the school safety of participating eligible 
students with the retention rates, high school graduation rates 
and college admission rates, and the school safety of students 
of similar backgrounds who do not participate in the program.
    The Secretary shall submit interim reports to the House 
Committees on Appropriations, Education and Workforce, and 
Oversight and Government Reform, and the Senate Committees on 
Appropriations, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and 
Homeland Security and Government Affairs, beginning on April 1 
of the following year after the date of enactment, and each 
subsequent year, on the progress and preliminary results of the 
evaluation of the program. The Secretary also will submit to 
those Committees a final report on the results of the 
evaluation of the program no later than one year after the 
final year for which a grant is made.

Section 10. Reporting requirements

    Eligible entities managing the DC OSP will submit annual 
reports to the Secretary and to parents concerning the academic 
growth and achievement of students participating in the 
program, high school graduation and college admission rates of 
students who participate in the program, parental satisfaction 
with the program, and school safety information.

Section 11. DC public schools and DC public charter schools

    As a condition of receiving funds on behalf of DC public 
schools and DC public charter schools, the Mayor shall comply 
with reasonable requests for information for purposes of 
evaluating the program, enter into an agreement with the 
Secretary to monitor and evaluate the use of funds, and submit 
a report to Congress on how the funds authorized and 
appropriated under the Act for DC public schools and DC public 
charter schools were used, and how such funds are contributing 
to student achievement.
    If, after reasonable notice and an opportunity for a 
hearing for the Mayor, the Secretary determines that the Mayor 
has not been in compliance with one or more of the 
requirements, the Secretary may withhold, in whole, or in part, 
further funds under this Act for DC public schools and DC 
public charter schools.

Section 12. Transitional provisions

    The Act makes null and void the provisions in the Omnibus 
Appropriations Act of fiscal year (FY) 2009 that prohibit new 
student enrollment in the DC OSP, as well as the provisions in 
the Consolidated Appropriations Act of FY 2010 that require 
site inspections twice annually and the additional report that 
was to be submitted by June 15, 2010 on academic rigor.
    An eligible entity that received the multiyear grant or 
contract to manage the DC OSP may continue to administer the 
program if it adheres to the requirements described in this 
Act.
    The Secretary and Mayor of the District of Columbia shall 
revise the memorandum of understanding entered into under the 
DC School Choice Incentive Act to address how the Mayor will 
ensure that the DC public schools and DC public charter schools 
will comply with reasonable requests for information as 
necessary to fulfill evaluation requirements, and to address 
the the implementation of the scholarship program under this 
Act.

Section 13. Definitions

    The term ``Eligible Entity'' includes a nonprofit 
organization or a consortium of nonprofit organizations.
    The term ``Eligible Student'' includes a student who is a 
resident of the District of Columbia and comes from a household 
that receives assistance under the supplemental nutrition 
assistance program, whose income does not exceed 185 percent of 
the federal poverty line, or, in the case of a student 
participating in the program in the preceding year, does not 
exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty line.
    The term ``Mayor'' means the Mayor of the District of 
Columbia.
    The term ``Participating Student'' means an eligible 
student awarded an opportunity scholarship under this Act, 
without regard to whether the student uses the scholarship to 
attend a participating school.
    The term ``Participating School'' means a private 
elementary school or secondary school participating in the 
opportunity scholarship program of an eligible entity under 
this Act.

Section 14. Authorization of appropriations

    There are authorized to be appropriated $60,000,000 for 
fiscal year 2012 and for each of the four succeeding years, of 
which shall be equally divided to carry out the DC Opportunity 
Scholarship Program, to improve public education in the DC 
public schools, and to improve quality public charter schools 
in the DC public charter schools.
    If the total funds appropriated under this Act for a fiscal 
year does not equal the authorized spending level, the funds 
appropriated shall be equally divided among the DC OSP, the DC 
public schools and the DC public charter schools.

                       Explanation of Amendments

    Rep. Issa offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute which made minor technical corrections to the 
legislation. Most significantly, the amendment clarifies that 
eligible private schools offering scholarships must give 
priority consideration to the students who had their 
scholarships rescinded by the Secretary of Education. The 
amendment also requires a nationally norm-referenced 
standardized test to be used to ensure the best possible 
evaluation of the Opportunity Scholarship Program students is 
used to determine the effectiveness of the program. And it 
requires that the evaluation of the program now compare 
students in the program to those who applied for a scholarship 
and did not receive one, so that a more accurate assessment can 
be made of how the program affects academic growth and 
achievement. The amendment was agreed to by voice vote.
    Rep. Norton offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute that would have removed all of the funding for the 
Opportunity Scholarship Program and transferred those dollars 
evenly into DC public schools and DC public charter schools. 
The Norton amendment was defeated by a roll call vote of 12-21.

                        Committee Consideration

    On March 10, 2011, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered reported favorably the bill, H.R. 471, as amended, by 
roll call vote of 21-14, a quorum being present.


              Application of Law to the Legislative Branch

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to the terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill authorizes the Secretary of Education to award five-
year grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations 
to carry out a program to provide expanded school choice 
opportunities to students who are District of Columbia (DC) 
residents and who come from households: (1) receiving 
assistance under the supplemental nutrition assistance program 
under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008; or (2) with incomes 
not exceeding 185% of the poverty line, except in certain 
grandfathered circumstances.
    Legislative branch employees and their families, to the 
extent that they are otherwise eligible for the benefits 
provided by this legislation, have equal access to its 
benefits.

  Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in the descriptive portions of this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report.

                     Federal Advisory Committee Act

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., Section 5(b).

                       Unfunded Mandate Statement

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement as to 
whether the provisions of the reported include unfunded 
mandates. In compliance with this requirement the Committee has 
received a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included 
herein.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 471 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                           Committee Estimate

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 471. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides that 
this requirement does not apply when the Committee has included 
in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

     Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 471 from the Director of 
Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, March 14, 2011.
Hon. Darrell Issa,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 471, the 
Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Justin 
Humphrey.
            Sincerely,
                                      Douglas W. Elmendorf,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 471--Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act

    H.R. 471 would authorize the appropriation of $20 million 
for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2016 for the District of 
Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides 
scholarships for private-school tuition to parents of students 
who reside in the District of Columbia and meet certain 
criteria. In addition, it would authorize the appropriation of 
$40 million for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2016 to 
improve Washington, D.C., public schools and to improve and 
expand public charter schools, provided that the mayor of the 
District of Columbia agrees to certain requirements.
    Based on historical spending patterns for similar programs, 
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $300 
million over the 2012-2016 period, assuming appropriation of 
the authorized amounts, as shown in the following table. 
Enacting the bill would have no impact on direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 
500 (education, training, employment, and social services).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                  ----------------------------------------------
                                                                    2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2012-2016
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level..............................................     60     60     60     60     60         300
Estimated Outlays................................................     60     60     60     60     60         300
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    H.R. 471 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. 
Any costs incurred by the District of Columbia would be 
incurred voluntarily and would result from complying with 
conditions of assistance.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Justin Humphrey. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets):

                 DC SCHOOL CHOICE INCENTIVE ACT OF 2003


(Title III of division C of Public Law 108-199; Sec. Sec. 38-1851.01 et 
                        seq., DC Official Code)

           [TITLE III--DC SCHOOL CHOICE INCENTIVE ACT OF 2003

[SEC. 301. SHORT TITLE.

  [This title may be cited as the ``DC School Choice Incentive 
Act of 2003''.

[SEC. 302. FINDINGS.

  [The Congress finds the following:
          [(1) Parents are best equipped to make decisions for 
        their children, including the educational setting that 
        will best serve the interests and educational needs of 
        their child.
          [(2) For many parents in the District of Columbia, 
        public school choice provided for under the No Child 
        Left Behind Act of 2001 as well as under other public 
        school choice programs, is inadequate due to capacity 
        constraints. Available educational alternatives to the 
        public schools are insufficient and more educational 
        options are needed. In particular, funds are needed to 
        assist low-income parents to exercise choice among 
        enhanced public opportunities and private educational 
        environments, whether religious or nonreligious. 
        Therefore, in keeping with the spirit of the No Child 
        Left Behind Act of 2001, school choice options, in 
        addition to those already available to parents in the 
        District of Columbia (such as magnet and charter 
        schools and open enrollment schools) should be made 
        available to those parents.
          [(3) In the most recent mathematics assessment on the 
        National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 
        administered in 2000, a lower percentage of 4th-grade 
        students in the District of Columbia demonstrated 
        proficiency than was the case for any State. Seventy-
        six percent of the District of Columbia fourth-graders 
        scored at the ``below basic'' level and of the 8th-
        grade students in the District of Columbia, only 6 
        percent of the students tested at the proficient or 
        advanced levels, and 77 percent were below basic. In 
        the most recent NAEP reading assessment, in 1998, only 
        10 percent of the District of Columbia fourth-graders 
        could read proficiently, while 72 percent were below 
        basic. At the 8th-grade level, 12 percent were 
        proficient or advanced and 56 percent were below basic.
          [(4) A program enacted for the valid secular purpose 
        of providing educational assistance to low-income 
        children in a demonstrably failing public school system 
        is constitutional under Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 
        U.S. 639 (2002), if it is neutral with respect to 
        religion and provides assistance to a broad class of 
        citizens who direct government aid to religious and 
        secular schools solely as a result of their genuine and 
        independent private choices.
          [(5) The Mayor of the District of Columbia, the 
        Chairman of the Education Committee of the City Council 
        of the District of Columbia, and the President of the 
        District of Columbia Board of Education support this 
        title.
          [(6) This title provides additional money for the 
        District of Columbia public schools and therefore money 
        for scholarships is not being taken out of money that 
        would otherwise go to the District of Columbia public 
        schools.
          [(7) This title creates a 5-year program tailored to 
        the current needs and particular circumstances of low-
        income children in District of Columbia schools. This 
        title does not establish parameters or requirements for 
        other school choice programs.

[SEC. 303. PURPOSE.

  [The purpose of this title is to provide low-income parents 
residing in the District of Columbia, particularly parents of 
students who attend elementary schools or secondary schools 
identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring 
under section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6316), with expanded opportunities for 
enrolling their children in higher-performing schools in the 
District of Columbia.

[SEC. 304. GENERAL AUTHORITY.

  [(a) Authority.--From funds appropriated to carry out this 
title, the Secretary shall award grants on a competitive basis 
to eligible entities with approved applications under section 
305 to carry out activities to provide eligible students with 
expanded school choice opportunities. The Secretary may award a 
single grant or multiple grants, depending on the quality of 
applications submitted and the priorities of this title.
  [(b) Duration of Grants.--The Secretary may make grants under 
this section for a period of not more than 5 years.
  [(c) Memorandum of Understanding.--The Secretary and the 
Mayor of the District of Columbia shall enter into a memorandum 
of understanding, as described in the statement of the 
managers, regarding the design of, selection of eligible 
entities to receive grants under, and implementation of, a 
program assisted under this title.

[SEC. 305. APPLICATIONS.

  [(a) In General.--In order to receive a grant under this 
title, an eligible entity shall submit an application to the 
Secretary at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such 
information as the Secretary may require.
  [(b) Contents.--The Secretary may not approve the request of 
an eligible entity for a grant under this title unless the 
entity's application includes--
          [(1) a detailed description of--
                  [(A) how the entity will address the 
                priorities described in section 306;
                  [(B) how the entity will ensure that if more 
                eligible students seek admission in the program 
                than the program can accommodate, eligible 
                students are selected for admission through a 
                random selection process which gives weight to 
                the priorities described in section 306;
                  [(C) how the entity will ensure that if more 
                participating eligible students seek admission 
                to a participating school than the school can 
                accommodate, participating eligible students 
                are selected for admission through a random 
                selection process;
                  [(D) how the entity will notify parents of 
                eligible students of the expanded choice 
                opportunities and how the entity will ensure 
                that parents receive sufficient information 
                about their options to allow the parents to 
                make informed decisions;
                  [(E) the activities that the entity will 
                carry out to provide parents of eligible 
                students with expanded choice opportunities 
                through the awarding of scholarships under 
                section 307(a);
                  [(F) how the entity will determine the amount 
                that will be provided to parents for the 
                tuition, fees, and transportation expenses, if 
                any;
                  [(G) how the entity will seek out private 
                elementary schools and secondary schools in the 
                District of Columbia to participate in the 
                program, and will ensure that participating 
                schools will meet the applicable requirements 
                of this title and provide the information 
                needed for the entity to meet the reporting 
                requirements of this title;
                  [(H) how the entity will ensure that 
                participating schools are financially 
                responsible and will use the funds received 
                under this title effectively;
                  [(I) how the entity will address the renewal 
                of scholarships to participating eligible 
                students, including continued eligibility; and
                  [(J) how the entity will ensure that a 
                majority of its voting board members or 
                governing organization are residents of the 
                District of Columbia; and
          [(2) an assurance that the entity will comply with 
        all requests regarding any evaluation carried out under 
        section 309.

[SEC. 306. PRIORITIES.

  [In awarding grants under this title, the Secretary shall 
give priority to applications from eligible entities who will 
most effectively--
          [(1) give priority to eligible students who, in the 
        school year preceding the school year for which the 
        eligible student is seeking a scholarship, attended an 
        elementary school or secondary school identified for 
        improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under 
        section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
        Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6316);
          [(2) target resources to students and families that 
        lack the financial resources to take advantage of 
        available educational options; and
          [(3) provide students and families with the widest 
        range of educational options.

[SEC. 307. USE OF FUNDS.

  [(a) Scholarships.--
          [(1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), 
        a grantee shall use the grant funds to provide eligible 
        students with scholarships to pay the tuition, fees, 
        and transportation expenses, if any, to enable them to 
        attend the District of Columbia private elementary 
        school or secondary school of their choice. Each 
        grantee shall ensure that the amount of any tuition or 
        fees charged by a school participating in the grantee's 
        program under this title to an eligible student 
        participating in the program does not exceed the amount 
        of tuition or fees that the school customarily charges 
        to students who do not participate in the program.
          [(2) Payments to parents.--A grantee shall make 
        scholarship payments under the program under this title 
        to the parent of the eligible student participating in 
        the program, in a manner which ensures that such 
        payments will be used for the payment of tuition, fees, 
        and transportation expenses (if any), in accordance 
        with this title.
          [(3) Amount of assistance.--
                  [(A) Varying amounts permitted.--Subject to 
                the other requirements of this section, a 
                grantee may award scholarships in larger 
                amounts to those eligible students with the 
                greatest need.
                  [(B) Annual limit on amount.--The amount of 
                assistance provided to any eligible student by 
                a grantee under a program under this title may 
                not exceed $7,500 for any academic year.
          [(4) Continuation of scholarships.--Notwithstanding 
        section 312(3)(B), an eligible entity receiving a grant 
        under this title may award a scholarship, for the 
        second or any succeeding year of an eligible student's 
        participation in a program under this title, to a 
        student who comes from a household whose income does 
        not exceed 200 percent (or, in the case of an eligible 
        student whose first year of participation in the 
        program is an academic year ending in June 2005 or June 
        2006 and whose second or succeeding year is an academic 
        year ending on or before June 2009, 300 percent) of the 
        poverty line.
  [(b) Administrative Expenses.--A grantee may use not more 
than 3 percent of the amount provided under the grant each year 
for the administrative expenses of carrying out its program 
under this title during the year, including--
          [(1) determining the eligibility of students to 
        participate;
          [(2) providing information about the program and the 
        schools involved to parents of eligible students;
          [(3) selecting students to receive scholarships;
          [(4) determining the amount of scholarships and 
        issuing the scholarships to eligible students;
          [(5) compiling and maintaining financial and 
        programmatic records; and
          [(6) providing funds to assist parents in meeting 
        expenses that might otherwise preclude the 
        participation of their child in the program.

[SEC. 308. NONDISCRIMINATION.

  [(a) In General.--An eligible entity or a school 
participating in any program under this title shall not 
discriminate against program participants or applicants on the 
basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.
  [(b) Applicability and Single Sex Schools, Classes, or 
Activities.--
          [(1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision 
        of law, the prohibition of sex discrimination in 
        subsection (a) shall not apply to a participating 
        school that is operated by, supervised by, controlled 
        by, or connected to a religious organization to the 
        extent that the application of subsection (a) is 
        inconsistent with the religious tenets or beliefs of 
        the school.
          [(2) Single sex schools, classes, or activities.--
        Notwithstanding subsection (a) or any other provision 
        of law, a parent may choose and a school may offer a 
        single sex school, class, or activity.
          [(3) Applicability.--For purposes of this title, the 
        provisions of section 909 of the Education Amendments 
        of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1688) shall apply to this title as 
        if section 909 of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 
        U.S.C. 1688) were part of this title.
  [(c) Children With Disabilities.--Nothing in this title may 
be construed to alter or modify the provisions of the 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  [(d) Religiously Affiliated Schools.--
          [(1) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision 
        of law, a school participating in any program under 
        this title that is operated by, supervised by, 
        controlled by, or connected to, a religious 
        organization may exercise its right in matters of 
        employment consistent with title VII of the Civil 
        Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1 et seq.), 
        including the exemptions in such title.
          [(2) Maintenance of purpose.--Notwithstanding any 
        other provision of law, funds made available under this 
        title to eligible students that are received by a 
        participating school, as a result of their parents' 
        choice, shall not, consistent with the first amendment 
        of the United States Constitution, necessitate any 
        change in the participating school's teaching mission, 
        require any participating school to remove religious 
        art, icons, scriptures, or other symbols, or preclude 
        any participating school from retaining religious terms 
        in its name, selecting its board members on a religious 
        basis, or including religious references in its mission 
        statements and other chartering or governing documents.
  [(e) Rule of Construction.--A scholarship (or any other form 
of support provided to parents of eligible students) under this 
title shall be considered assistance to the student and shall 
not be considered assistance to the school that enrolls the 
eligible student. The amount of any scholarship (or other form 
of support provided to parents of an eligible student) under 
this title shall not be treated as income of the parents for 
purposes of Federal tax laws or for determining eligibility for 
any other Federal program.

[SEC. 309. EVALUATIONS.

  [(a) In General.--
          [(1) Duties of the secretary and the mayor.--The 
        Secretary and the Mayor of the District of Columbia 
        shall jointly select an independent entity to evaluate 
        annually the performance of students who received 
        scholarships under the 5-year program under this title, 
        and shall make the evaluations public in accordance 
        with subsection (c).
          [(2) Duties of the secretary.--The Secretary, through 
        a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, shall--
                  [(A) ensure that the evaluation is conducted 
                using the strongest possible research design 
                for determining the effectiveness of the 
                programs funded under this title that addresses 
                the issues described in paragraph (4); and
                  [(B) disseminate information on the impact of 
                the programs in increasing the student academic 
                achievement of participating students, and on 
                the impact of the programs on students and 
                schools in the District of Columbia.
          [(3) Duties of the independent entity.--The 
        independent entity shall--
                  [(A) measure the academic achievement of all 
                participating eligible students;
                  [(B) use the same grade appropriate 
                measurement every school year to assess 
                participating eligible students as the 
                measurement used by the District of Columbia 
                Public Schools to assess District of Columbia 
                Public School students in the first year of the 
                program; and
                  [(C) work with the eligible entities to 
                ensure that the parents of each student who 
                applies for a scholarship under this title 
                (regardless of whether the student receives the 
                scholarship) and the parents of each student 
                participating in the scholarship program under 
                this title, agree that the student will 
                participate in the measurements given annually 
                by the independent entity for the period for 
                which the student applied for or received the 
                scholarship, respectively.
          [(4) Issues to be evaluated.--The issues to be 
        evaluated include the following:
                  [(A) A comparison of the academic achievement 
                of participating eligible students in the 
                measurements described in this section to the 
                achievement of--
                          [(i) students in the same grades in 
                        the District of Columbia public 
                        schools; and
                          [(ii) the eligible students in the 
                        same grades in the District of Columbia 
                        public schools who sought to 
                        participate in the scholarship program 
                        but were not selected.
                  [(B) The success of the programs in expanding 
                choice options for parents.
                  [(C) The reasons parents choose for their 
                children to participate in the programs.
                  [(D) A comparison of the retention rates, 
                dropout rates, and (if appropriate) graduation 
                and college admission rates, of students who 
                participate in the programs funded under this 
                title with the retention rates, dropout rates, 
                and (if appropriate) graduation and college 
                admission rates of students of similar 
                backgrounds who do not participate in such 
                programs.
                  [(E) The impact of the program on students, 
                and public elementary schools and secondary 
                schools, in the District of Columbia.
                  [(F) A comparison of the safety of the 
                schools attended by students who participate in 
                the programs and the schools attended by 
                students who do not participate in the 
                programs.
                  [(G) Such other issues as the Secretary 
                considers appropriate for inclusion in the 
                evaluation.
          [(5) Prohibition.--Personally identifiable 
        information regarding the results of the measurements 
        used for the evaluations may not be disclosed, except 
        to the parents of the student to whom the information 
        relates.
  [(b) Reports.--The Secretary shall submit to the Committees 
on Appropriations, Education and the Workforce, and Government 
Reform of the House of Representatives and the Committees on 
Appropriations, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and 
Governmental Affairs of the Senate--
          [(1) annual interim reports, not later than December 
        1 of each year for which a grant is made under this 
        title, on the progress and preliminary results of the 
        evaluation of the programs funded under this title; and
          [(2) a final report, not later than 1 year after the 
        final year for which a grant is made under this title, 
        on the results of the evaluation of the programs funded 
        under this title.
  [(c) Public Availability.--All reports and underlying data 
gathered pursuant to this section shall be made available to 
the public upon request, in a timely manner following 
submission of the applicable report under subsection (b), 
except that personally identifiable information shall not be 
disclosed or made available to the public.
  [(d) Limit on Amount Expended.--The amount expended by the 
Secretary to carry out this section for any fiscal year may not 
exceed 3 percent of the total amount appropriated to carry out 
this title for the fiscal year.

[SEC. 310. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

  [(a) Activities Reports.--Each grantee receiving funds under 
this title during a year shall submit a report to the Secretary 
not later than July 30 of the following year regarding the 
activities carried out with the funds during the preceding 
year.
  [(b) Achievement Reports.--
          [(1) In general.--In addition to the reports required 
        under subsection (a), each grantee shall, not later 
        than September 1 of the year during which the second 
        academic year of the grantee's program is completed and 
        each of the next 2 years thereafter, submit a report to 
        the Secretary regarding the data collected in the 
        previous 2 academic years concerning--
                  [(A) the academic achievement of students 
                participating in the program;
                  [(B) the graduation and college admission 
                rates of students who participate in the 
                program, where appropriate; and
                  [(C) parental satisfaction with the program.
          [(2) Prohibiting disclosure of personal 
        information.--No report under this subsection may 
        contain any personally identifiable information.
  [(c) Reports to Parent.--
          [(1) In general.--Each grantee shall ensure that each 
        school participating in the grantee's program under 
        this title during a year reports at least once during 
        the year to the parents of each of the school's 
        students who are participating in the program on--
                  [(A) the student's academic achievement, as 
                measured by a comparison with the aggregate 
                academic achievement of other participating 
                students at the student's school in the same 
                grade or level, as appropriate, and the 
                aggregate academic achievement of the student's 
                peers at the student's school in the same grade 
                or level, as appropriate; and
                  [(B) the safety of the school, including the 
                incidence of school violence, student 
                suspensions, and student expulsions.
          [(2) Prohibiting disclosure of personal 
        information.--No report under this subsection may 
        contain any personally identifiable information, except 
        as to the student who is the subject of the report to 
        that student's parent.
  [(d) Report to Congress.--The Secretary shall submit to the 
Committees on Appropriations, Education and the Workforce, and 
Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the 
Committees on Appropriations, Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions, and Governmental Affairs of the Senate an annual 
report on the findings of the reports submitted under 
subsections (a) and (b).

[SEC. 311. OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS.

  [(a) Requests for Data and Information.--Each school 
participating in a program funded under this title shall comply 
with all requests for data and information regarding 
evaluations conducted under section 309(a).
  [(b) Rules of Conduct and Other School Policies.--A 
participating school, including those described in section 
308(d), may require eligible students to abide by any rules of 
conduct and other requirements applicable to all other students 
at the school.

[SEC. 312. DEFINITIONS.

  [As used in this title:
          [(1) Elementary school.--The term ``elementary 
        school'' means an institutional day or residential 
        school, including a public elementary charter school, 
        that provides elementary education, as determined under 
        District of Columbia law.
          [(2) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' 
        means any of the following:
                  [(A) An educational entity of the District of 
                Columbia Government.
                  [(B) A nonprofit organization.
                  [(C) A consortium of nonprofit organizations.
          [(3) Eligible student.--The term ``eligible student'' 
        means a student who--
                  [(A) is a resident of the District of 
                Columbia; and
                  [(B) comes from a household whose income does 
                not exceed 185 percent of the poverty line.
          [(4) Parent.--The term ``parent'' has the meaning 
        given that term in section 9101 of the Elementary and 
        Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).
          [(5) Poverty line.--The term ``poverty line'' has the 
        meaning given that term in section 9101 of the 
        Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 
        U.S.C. 7801).
          [(6) Secondary school.--The term ``secondary school'' 
        means an institutional day or residential school, 
        including a public secondary charter school, as 
        determined under District of Columbia law, except that 
        the term does not include any education beyond grade 
        12.
          [(7) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the 
        Secretary of Education.

[SEC. 313. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  [There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this 
title $14,000,000 for fiscal year 2004 and such sums as may be 
necessary for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years.]

                       MINORITY VIEWS ON H.R. 471

                             MARCH 15, 2011

    Committee Democrats oppose H.R. 471, the Scholarships for 
Opportunity and Results Act, because the legislation increases 
federal spending without an equivalent offset, provides public 
funds to send students to private elementary and secondary 
schools, and violates the District of Columbia's self-governing 
prerogatives.
    The legislation attempts to reactivate and expand the five-
year private school voucher program that was forced on the 
residents of the District of Columbia in fiscal year 2004. The 
program, created by the DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003 
(Incentive Act), was the first, and remains the only, federally 
created or funded private school voucher program. Despite the 
program's expiration in fiscal year 2009, Congress continued to 
fund it on the condition that no funds could be used in school 
year 2009-2010 unless Congress reauthorized the program.\1\ In 
fiscal year 2010, the Obama Administration and Congress agreed 
to allow students enrolled in the program in school year 2009-
2010 to continue until graduation, but not to admit new 
students.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8).
    \2\See Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The legislation authorizes $300 million over five years, 
but does not offset that spending, despite the highest federal 
deficit on record. The legislation violates the majority's 
``Legislative Protocols'' for scheduling legislation for floor 
consideration, under which any bill that authorizes the 
appropriation of funds for any new program ``shall also include 
language offsetting the full value of such authorization 
through a reduction in the authorization of current ongoing 
spending.''\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Legislative Protocols for the 112th Congress (online at 
www.majorityleader.gov/Protocols/).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During consideration, the majority contended that the 
legislation reduces spending by $15.4 million from fiscal year 
2010 (and under the continuing resolution, from fiscal year 
2011). That argument presupposes that the bill is extending the 
authorization of an existing program, which is inaccurate. In 
addition, the bill still fails to offset all costs of the 
voucher program in fiscal year 2012. The Incentive Act 
authorized funding only for vouchers, not public schools or 
public charter schools. The authorized amounts for vouchers 
were $14 million for fiscal year 2004 and such sums as may be 
necessary for fiscal years 2005-2008. H.R. 471 provides $20 
million for vouchers in fiscal year 2012, a $6.8 million 
increase over the fiscal year 2010-2011 appropriation levels, 
which is not offset.
    The majority is reestablishing a program that failed to 
improve academic achievement. The final congressionally 
mandated independent study of the program found no ``conclusive 
evidence'' that it ``affected student achievement'' as measured 
by standardized reading and math tests.\4\ While the program 
prioritized students from the lowest performing public schools, 
it had ``no significant impacts on [the] achievement'' of these 
students, according to the independent study.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, 
Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Final Report 
(June 2010).
    \5\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the Committee's consideration of H.R. 471, 
Congresswoman Norton offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute that would have ensured that public funds go only to 
public education by redirecting the entire $300 million 
authorized by the bill to be equally divided between District 
of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and District of Columbia 
public charter schools. When compared to other large urban 
school districts, the District of Columbia's results are above 
average. In fact, DCPS fourth and eighth grade students were 
the only ones in such districts to show significant improvement 
in the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\National Assessment of Educational Progress, Trial Urban 
District Assessment (2009).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    District of Columbia public charter schools, which have 
been created by parents and organizations, provide publicly 
accountable educational options for students and parents. 
Thirty-eight percent of District of Columbia students attend 
public charter schools, and many others are on waiting lists 
for admission. District of Columbia public charter school 
students significantly outperform DCPS students, with charter 
middle and high school students scoring almost twice as high on 
standardized math and reading tests as DCPS students.\7\ 
Congresswoman Norton's amendment also would have granted 
preference at District of Columbia public charter schools for 
the 216 new students who were awarded vouchers for the 2009-
2010 school year, but which were later rescinded when the 
program was not reauthorized.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\DC Comprehensive Assessment System (2009) (online at 
nclb.osse.dc.gov).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite assertions that the expired program was successful, 
the majority has not introduced a nationwide voucher bill to 
expand the program to other jurisdictions. The public does not 
support government funding for private education, as indicated 
by the failure of every state referendum to authorize 
vouchers.\8\ Instead, with H.R. 471, the majority once again 
tramples on the District of Columbia's home rule, and uses the 
District to pursue its partisan agenda. Neither the 
Representative from the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes 
Norton, nor its local elected officials were asked for their 
views on the legislation before Speaker John Boehner introduced 
it. In fact, the Subcommittee on Healthcare, District of 
Columbia, Census, and the National Archives refused to grant 
the
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\See National Coalition for Public Education, Votes on State 
Voucher Referenda (January 25, 2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mayor of the District of Columbia's reasonable requests to 
alter the paneling of witnesses and to move up the start time 
of the hearing held on March 1, 2011 to discuss H.R. 471. The 
Mayor's testimony would have provided the perspective of the 
City's leadership on how best to improve public education in 
the District of Columbia.

                                   Elijah E. Cummings.
                                   Danny K. Davis.
                                   Eleanor Holmes Norton.