Thousands Rally for D.C. School Vouchers

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WASHINGTON - Thousands gathered at the Capitol, Wednesday, for the largest ever Washington, D.C., rally regarding school choice. 

The protest came as a result of the Obama administration's decision to cut off the district's school voucher program that provides scholarships for low income children to attend better schools. 

Hundreds of children were receiving the vouchers that allow them escape the often failing public schools in the D.C. area.  

Rally participant Sheila Jackson said her daughter had a scholarship for three years, but is now about to lose it.

"She's actually asked me if we can move to another state if this program is not continued because she does not want to attend the D.C. public schools," Jackson said.

The outrage was not only about the loss of scholarships, but also the opportunities they represent for the children.

"They get excited about school," said Ladd Everitt, whose friend's child lost a scholarship. "They become role models for the other kids in the community. They start to demand more out of their education, more out of their schools."

Tara Montgomery's niece also lost a scholarship.

"If my niece loses this scholarship, her and all these kids will be so disheartened, that if they go back to public schools, they won't want to participate and they'll be statistics," she said.

Resident Robert Brannum was also at the rally, but doesn't favor the vouchers.  He claimed the people of Washington, D.C., do not support them.

"It does not support public education," he said "It takes funds and support and resources that can be used to reform D.C. public schools away from D.C. public schools."

Washington, D.C. is a liberal-leaning city and many there voted for President Obama.  Residents, however, say they are not happy with him on the decision about the vouchers.

*Originally published September 30, 2009 

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Paul Strand

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As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.