"Power to the Parents!" SOAR Act Passes the House

“The power should go to the parents. Plain and simple. Every parent. Charter school, public school, home school, private school…you name it. That’s where the power should lie,” said Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) debating the SOAR Act on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Yesterday, for 225 members of Congress (224 Republicans, 1 Democrat), the power did rest in the parents and children of Washington, DC. By a vote of 225-195, the House passed the SOAR Act (H.R.471), thus reauthorizing the successful DC Opportunity Scholarship Program sponsored by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

Heritage Action included the measure as a key vote on our scorecard and applauds those members of Congress for their principled conservative stand.  We must put children and their parents back in the drivers seats of their education and demand that innovation and competition promote a stronger education system overall in the District of Columbia. To see a list of those members, check out the final vote tally here. Please take a moment and let your representative know how much you appreciate their strong stand on this issue.

195 members (186 Democrats, 9 Republicans) voted against the measure, siding with the teachers unions and special interest groups that have long wanted to end the successful program. 12 members (7 Republicans, 5 Democrats) did not vote. You can see a full list of those members here. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) of Washington, DC, offered an amendment which would have stripped the DCOSP authorization that 185 members (181 Democrats, 4 Republicans) voted in favor. See how your Representative voted here.

The bill now moves to the Senate where the fight for the parents and children of Washington, DC continues. S.206 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs and Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) are current sponsors of the bill. They are advocating that all Senators on the committee and in the Senate to be supportive of the DCOSP program going forward.

Heritage Action will continue to advocate for this great program that “isn’t about politics, it’s about the kids.”

Take Action: Email Your Senators to Support the SOAR Act.

Please Share Your Thoughts

54 thoughts on “"Power to the Parents!" SOAR Act Passes the House

  1. Keep what is best for the kids in mind, and that is free choice. A free and open choice of what type of education service they and their parents wish to access, can only help to raise the level of education for everyone.

    Please work to support teaching Constitutional and civic responsibility to our children. The deliberate dumbing down of our children, in regard to the primary principles of this Republic, is to me a seriously negative situation. There is nothing irrelevent in our Constitution, as it now stands, and ou leaders need to adhere to and promote its tenets.

    • We need to hold teachers accountable for the average grades of students they teach.
      They should get their own report card for the work they have done each qtr, based on the students grade average.If the teacher performs poorly, issue
      a warning,if they can’t improve, issue a list of places they can apply for work .

      • My grandfather was a school teacher in a one room schoolhouse, teaching several grades, from 1914-1917. At that time teachers were graded for their teaching ability.

  2. Keep what is best for the kids in mind, and that is free choice. A free and open choice of what type of education service they and their parents wish to access, can only help to raise the level of education for everyone.

    Please work to support teaching Constitutional and civic responsibility to our children. The deliberate dumbing down of our children, in regard to the primary principles of this Republic, is to me a seriously negative situation. There is nothing irrelevent in our Constitution, as it now stands, and ou leaders need to adhere to and promote its tenets.

    • We need to hold teachers accountable for the average grades of students they teach.
      They should get their own report card for the work they have done each qtr, based on the students grade average.If the teacher performs poorly, issue
      a warning,if they can’t improve, issue a list of places they can apply for work .

      • My grandfather was a school teacher in a one room schoolhouse, teaching several grades, from 1914-1917. At that time teachers were graded for their teaching ability.

  3. The education of children has been hampered for
    over 50 years by idiots theory and removing the very thing that, all of the previous generations were
    so great in doing. Learning the very basics of
    education, and being able to think on their own.
    There is to much JUNK being taught to the students and NOT ENOUGH BASICS. The schools should be controlled by the parents,
    NOT, teachers unions. Why is it, so many students fail in basic communications?

  4. The education of children has been hampered for
    over 50 years by idiots theory and removing the very thing that, all of the previous generations were
    so great in doing. Learning the very basics of
    education, and being able to think on their own.
    There is to much JUNK being taught to the students and NOT ENOUGH BASICS. The schools should be controlled by the parents,
    NOT, teachers unions. Why is it, so many students fail in basic communications?

  5. Nice going for voting for SOAR!!! If the teachers who belong to NEA, because of pressure, want to really teach, go to work in a private or charter school so you can really do your job. Don’t let the NEA bully you into not doing your job correctly and courageously.

    No one should be forced to join a union that “hamstrings” dedicated teachers & principals!!

  6. Nice going for voting for SOAR!!! If the teachers who belong to NEA, because of pressure, want to really teach, go to work in a private or charter school so you can really do your job. Don’t let the NEA bully you into not doing your job correctly and courageously.

    No one should be forced to join a union that “hamstrings” dedicated teachers & principals!!

  7. It looked like a who’s who of failed, political non-leaders when I looked at the “No” votes. Now you can see the political strangulation hold that these corrupt unions have on politicians. Until the voters in the blue states wake up, there will continue to be corruption at all levels of government.

  8. It looked like a who’s who of failed, political non-leaders when I looked at the “No” votes. Now you can see the political strangulation hold that these corrupt unions have on politicians. Until the voters in the blue states wake up, there will continue to be corruption at all levels of government.

  9. Not suprisingly, my ME rep, Michaud, voted NO. The other liberal was absent. GOOD!
    Are these people afraid children will learn the difference between the right and wrong that exists in politics? Heaven forbid, the (D) libs would lose votes!
    Now I’ll wait to see how my two RINO’s vote in the senate. One appears OK. The second is absent.

    • Neal,Sorry to say we have the same ME reps.They both voted themselves a Raise recently,when we are all trying to cut back.They are there for their own wealth and nothing more.Blame the lack of education in MAINE for the reason people keep voting for these poor excuses of Reps.With LePage we may have a chance,Thank GOD …Baldacci is gone.Look out DC you just got a real piece of work from Maine

  10. Not suprisingly, my ME rep, Michaud, voted NO. The other liberal was absent. GOOD!
    Are these people afraid children will learn the difference between the right and wrong that exists in politics? Heaven forbid, the (D) libs would lose votes!
    Now I’ll wait to see how my two RINO’s vote in the senate. One appears OK. The second is absent.

    • Neal,Sorry to say we have the same ME reps.They both voted themselves a Raise recently,when we are all trying to cut back.They are there for their own wealth and nothing more.Blame the lack of education in MAINE for the reason people keep voting for these poor excuses of Reps.With LePage we may have a chance,Thank GOD …Baldacci is gone.Look out DC you just got a real piece of work from Maine

  11. My son attended public school through the 8th grade, with mixed results with what the public school system called a “reading comprension” problem. Fortunately we could afford to send him to private school where we were told his problem was manageable. They required an extensive reading program, both the classics and some light reading, which was a good mix of both difficult and easier reading assignments, and all of a sudden, after his freshman year of high school, he had no reading comprension issues, graduated with good grades, and graduated from college with a degree in economics.

    I absolutely believe, most kids, given an opportunity like my son will do well in school providing a chance for a more productive and better quality of life.

    • It has been my experience with Principals and Superintendents=[They don’t care] They suspend kids from school in my area of Maine so often it made my head spin.One superintendent said he wouldn’t speak to the Principal because he doesn’t want to make his job any harder.I can’t speak about other schools but ours are like a socialist academy.There are some good teachers who really care but can’t speak out for fear of losing their job.

  12. My son attended public school through the 8th grade, with mixed results with what the public school system called a “reading comprension” problem. Fortunately we could afford to send him to private school where we were told his problem was manageable. They required an extensive reading program, both the classics and some light reading, which was a good mix of both difficult and easier reading assignments, and all of a sudden, after his freshman year of high school, he had no reading comprension issues, graduated with good grades, and graduated from college with a degree in economics.

    I absolutely believe, most kids, given an opportunity like my son will do well in school providing a chance for a more productive and better quality of life.

    • It has been my experience with Principals and Superintendents=[They don’t care] They suspend kids from school in my area of Maine so often it made my head spin.One superintendent said he wouldn’t speak to the Principal because he doesn’t want to make his job any harder.I can’t speak about other schools but ours are like a socialist academy.There are some good teachers who really care but can’t speak out for fear of losing their job.

  13. I too would have voted for SOAR.

    That said, as I was voting I would have known how much money I was voting to spend.

    (Note, as far as I can tell, Heritage doesn’t address this issue. Why not…?)

    Continuing along this line of reasoning, I would vote “yea” while at the same time proposing equal or greater savings from spending cuts in other areas.

    How many of “our” representatives – our “fiscally conservative” representatives – do you suppose took the time to do so?

    Folks… what are we expecting… $1.65 trillion in deficit borrowing/spending to be added to our existing National Debt by the end of this fiscal year?

    It’s bad enough that Republicans won’t address this $1.65 trillion deficit seriously…

    ($61 billion in cuts…? That’s a sick joke!)

    …but to add to total spending by adding new funding without offsets?

    (*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)

    • I would be interested, to know why you throw The Heritage Foundation, under the bus, when your own words clearly indicate you have no idea, of the truth, of your statements. I would most surely say I agree, but only, after I had somee proof. Your not reacting, in a rational manner. Why???

      • “I would be interested, to know why you throw The Heritage Foundation…”

        You’re joking, right?

        See, folks, it’s this sort of knee-jerk “Rah-Rah Team” attitude that simply demoralizes me.

        So Mr. Mullen – let me get this straight – your issue is “my” motivations… not the question I raised – not the point I raised?

        Yeah… you’ve caught me… clearly I’m George Soros writing under the nom de plume “Wiliam R. Barker.”

        Yep… you’ve cracked the code, Mullen – my newest Left Wing Conspiracy is to get people thinking about sticking to cutting the federal budget and where funding is redirected as a spending increase in one area, equal or greater cuts must be made elsewhere in order to ensure we continue overall cuts to the federal budget.

        Truly Machiavellian, isn’t it? I mean… who would have guessed that by calling for us to keep our eye on the main “ball” of overall spending I was outing myself as a closet liberal!

  14. I too would have voted for SOAR.

    That said, as I was voting I would have known how much money I was voting to spend.

    (Note, as far as I can tell, Heritage doesn’t address this issue. Why not…?)

    Continuing along this line of reasoning, I would vote “yea” while at the same time proposing equal or greater savings from spending cuts in other areas.

    How many of “our” representatives – our “fiscally conservative” representatives – do you suppose took the time to do so?

    Folks… what are we expecting… $1.65 trillion in deficit borrowing/spending to be added to our existing National Debt by the end of this fiscal year?

    It’s bad enough that Republicans won’t address this $1.65 trillion deficit seriously…

    ($61 billion in cuts…? That’s a sick joke!)

    …but to add to total spending by adding new funding without offsets?

    (*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)

    • I would be interested, to know why you throw The Heritage Foundation, under the bus, when your own words clearly indicate you have no idea, of the truth, of your statements. I would most surely say I agree, but only, after I had somee proof. Your not reacting, in a rational manner. Why???

      • “I would be interested, to know why you throw The Heritage Foundation…”

        You’re joking, right?

        See, folks, it’s this sort of knee-jerk “Rah-Rah Team” attitude that simply demoralizes me.

        So Mr. Mullen – let me get this straight – your issue is “my” motivations… not the question I raised – not the point I raised?

        Yeah… you’ve caught me… clearly I’m George Soros writing under the nom de plume “Wiliam R. Barker.”

        Yep… you’ve cracked the code, Mullen – my newest Left Wing Conspiracy is to get people thinking about sticking to cutting the federal budget and where funding is redirected as a spending increase in one area, equal or greater cuts must be made elsewhere in order to ensure we continue overall cuts to the federal budget.

        Truly Machiavellian, isn’t it? I mean… who would have guessed that by calling for us to keep our eye on the main “ball” of overall spending I was outing myself as a closet liberal!

  15. This was such a marvelous program. The Heritage Movie on the program was very moving. I cannot imagine being trapped in such a failing school system. But, I, want to see it reinstated only when I can see the cut in spending take place to counteract its cost. No dollars were mentioned. We are missing a side of this story which I need to say YEH! Otherwise, NAY!

    • Careful, Joan, or William C. Mullen is gonna accuse you of having some sinister motivation for not simply ending your comment with the line, “The Heritage Movie on the program was very moving.”

      (*SNORT*) (*CHUCKLE*)

      Seriously… thank God someone else “gets it.”

      My wife and I still joke about the time years ago, when my now 23 year old daughter was perhaps 7 or so, and we were at Sesame Place.

      Money was tight. We’d pretty much hit our budgeted amount for “incidental” spending at the park. Our daughter asked for a drink and a snack.

      Guess what we told her?

      We said, “Honey, you can have a drink, or, you can have a snack. Unfortunately you can’t have both.”

      Folks… no matter how the politicians try to scam us into believing there’s something “magical” about government budgeting as opposed to household or business budgeting… the truth is that balancing your inflow against your outflow, your income and savings against your spending and debts… that’s the name of the game.

      We can’t think like irresponsible libs. We can let emotion override reason. We must live within our means and that entails tough choices.

  16. This was such a marvelous program. The Heritage Movie on the program was very moving. I cannot imagine being trapped in such a failing school system. But, I, want to see it reinstated only when I can see the cut in spending take place to counteract its cost. No dollars were mentioned. We are missing a side of this story which I need to say YEH! Otherwise, NAY!

    • Careful, Joan, or William C. Mullen is gonna accuse you of having some sinister motivation for not simply ending your comment with the line, “The Heritage Movie on the program was very moving.”

      (*SNORT*) (*CHUCKLE*)

      Seriously… thank God someone else “gets it.”

      My wife and I still joke about the time years ago, when my now 23 year old daughter was perhaps 7 or so, and we were at Sesame Place.

      Money was tight. We’d pretty much hit our budgeted amount for “incidental” spending at the park. Our daughter asked for a drink and a snack.

      Guess what we told her?

      We said, “Honey, you can have a drink, or, you can have a snack. Unfortunately you can’t have both.”

      Folks… no matter how the politicians try to scam us into believing there’s something “magical” about government budgeting as opposed to household or business budgeting… the truth is that balancing your inflow against your outflow, your income and savings against your spending and debts… that’s the name of the game.

      We can’t think like irresponsible libs. We can let emotion override reason. We must live within our means and that entails tough choices.

  17. Certain requirements should be standardized.

    Child[ren] of parents are the students, parents pay the tax dollars, thus parent’s decision!

    I had 3 children who experienced private schools and public schools. I have grandchildren who have experienced private, public and homeschooled.

    All of the above have greatly benefited. Healthy adults, dependable, reliable human beings and contribute to society! The younger ones are doing great and emotionally well balanced!

    Schools today are not educating as much as they are indoctrinating!

    Just look at the youth of today and you see the results. Let’s get the home and the schools back to basics, standards and responsibility – [parents and Administrators/teachers and the environment in the HOME AND IN THE SCHOOLS].

    Good luck! Stay strong and committed!

  18. Certain requirements should be standardized.

    Child[ren] of parents are the students, parents pay the tax dollars, thus parent’s decision!

    I had 3 children who experienced private schools and public schools. I have grandchildren who have experienced private, public and homeschooled.

    All of the above have greatly benefited. Healthy adults, dependable, reliable human beings and contribute to society! The younger ones are doing great and emotionally well balanced!

    Schools today are not educating as much as they are indoctrinating!

    Just look at the youth of today and you see the results. Let’s get the home and the schools back to basics, standards and responsibility – [parents and Administrators/teachers and the environment in the HOME AND IN THE SCHOOLS].

    Good luck! Stay strong and committed!

  19. It is great they passed the bill.

    But, why is Congress involved in a D.C. issue?

    There are many national issues that need attention… spending… the debt… public sector jobs… a president that ignores congress and the courts!

  20. It is great they passed the bill.

    But, why is Congress involved in a D.C. issue?

    There are many national issues that need attention… spending… the debt… public sector jobs… a president that ignores congress and the courts!

  21. Thank God, we have a congress starting to pay
    attention to whats going on in this country. The things that are being taught in our schools are
    nothing but a liberal agenda, promoted by the
    teacher unions. I have talked to young people from
    the 3rd grade on and they know very little about
    the history of America. If you don`t know the history
    of your country, then how can you prosper and
    become a loyal citizen and moral person in to-days
    world. It`s time we take back our schools, as we are going to take back our country. I would like to
    thank my Congressman (JIM RENACCI) of OHIO
    for voting YES on,HR71.People need to let their
    Congressmen know how they feel about how they
    voted.

  22. Thank God, we have a congress starting to pay
    attention to whats going on in this country. The things that are being taught in our schools are
    nothing but a liberal agenda, promoted by the
    teacher unions. I have talked to young people from
    the 3rd grade on and they know very little about
    the history of America. If you don`t know the history
    of your country, then how can you prosper and
    become a loyal citizen and moral person in to-days
    world. It`s time we take back our schools, as we are going to take back our country. I would like to
    thank my Congressman (JIM RENACCI) of OHIO
    for voting YES on,HR71.People need to let their
    Congressmen know how they feel about how they
    voted.

  23. As a retired private teacher who was graded on performance I am all for this.
    Dedicated teaching helps to motivate good teachers who produce motivate students.
    Hard to imagine happy motivated teachers and happy motivated students who both preform well, Not only is possible it is life changing for both teachers and students.

  24. As a retired private teacher who was graded on performance I am all for this.
    Dedicated teaching helps to motivate good teachers who produce motivate students.
    Hard to imagine happy motivated teachers and happy motivated students who both preform well, Not only is possible it is life changing for both teachers and students.

  25. I went to school during the 2nd World War. Our classes were up to fifty in a class room. I ended up with a much better education that most schools are now turning out. My wife was a special ed aide and paperwork demanded by the Federal Government took a great deal of time to complete and was only audited to see it was done. No one really checked on the child’s progress or the teacher’s plan. The Federal Government has no business in education. That is a tenth amendment item.

    • I’m with you 100%, Rex.

      Get the federal government out of local schools except as necessary to ensure against proactive racial discrimination.

      (Which frankly I don’t believe we have to worry about in this day and age… but of course if it did happen then the federal government would have to intervene if an individual state did not.)

  26. I went to school during the 2nd World War. Our classes were up to fifty in a class room. I ended up with a much better education that most schools are now turning out. My wife was a special ed aide and paperwork demanded by the Federal Government took a great deal of time to complete and was only audited to see it was done. No one really checked on the child’s progress or the teacher’s plan. The Federal Government has no business in education. That is a tenth amendment item.

    • I’m with you 100%, Rex.

      Get the federal government out of local schools except as necessary to ensure against proactive racial discrimination.

      (Which frankly I don’t believe we have to worry about in this day and age… but of course if it did happen then the federal government would have to intervene if an individual state did not.)

  27. A former head of the Federal Department of Education once told me, the best thing we could do to help education is to get rid of the Federal Department of Education I agree that we need to get back to local school districts and let the Superintendents and Principles of individual school systems run things. My father, who was a Superintendent of Schools in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado from 1922 to 1965 ran outstanding schools and nobody told him how to run them or what to teach.. His school teachers were non-union and the County Superintendent was only responsible for making certain that State and County resources were equal in all the County schools and he had nothing to say about how students were taught. We need to get back to local school districts, the system of education that worked the best. Our Greatest Generation proved that.

  28. A former head of the Federal Department of Education once told me, the best thing we could do to help education is to get rid of the Federal Department of Education I agree that we need to get back to local school districts and let the Superintendents and Principles of individual school systems run things. My father, who was a Superintendent of Schools in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado from 1922 to 1965 ran outstanding schools and nobody told him how to run them or what to teach.. His school teachers were non-union and the County Superintendent was only responsible for making certain that State and County resources were equal in all the County schools and he had nothing to say about how students were taught. We need to get back to local school districts, the system of education that worked the best. Our Greatest Generation proved that.

  29. Looking at the naysayer Repubs, I note they are the most fiscally libertarian. Can thir vote be indicating they are disqualifying the measure on a spending
    basis, or a jurisdictional turf basis, rather than any other discernible criterion?

  30. Looking at the naysayer Repubs, I note they are the most fiscally libertarian. Can thir vote be indicating they are disqualifying the measure on a spending
    basis, or a jurisdictional turf basis, rather than any other discernible criterion?

  31. Would that we had a “Time Machine” to go back 50 years and undo the damage to the past 3 generations. Great work and God bless all who have worked so hard to get to this point.

  32. Would that we had a “Time Machine” to go back 50 years and undo the damage to the past 3 generations. Great work and God bless all who have worked so hard to get to this point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *