Norton Blasts Cruz for Reintroducing Radical Bill to Force D.C. to Direct Local Education Funds to Private School Vouchers and Vows to Defeat Again

Nov 29, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today blasted Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for reintroducing a bill she has kept from moving before that would radically alter the District of Columbia’s local education system by forcing D.C. to steer its local funds away from D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools to vouchers for any student who chooses to attend private schools.  Norton said Cruz’s bill is “private school vouchers on steroids,” and goes far beyond the existing D.C. private school voucher program, which uses federal funds.  The bill would also force D.C. to use its local funds to pay for other educational expenses such as private online classes.

Last Congress, Cruz launched multiple attacks on D.C. home rule ahead of announcing his presidential bid, introducing bills to overturn two D.C. anti-discrimination laws.  Last Congress, the Republican-controlled House and Senate roundly rejected all amendments to establish national voucher programs as part of the bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“Senator Cruz’s attempt to force the District of Columbia to spend its own locally-raised education dollars on private school vouchers ranks among the most extreme attack on home rule we have witnessed,” Norton said.  “Education is one of the most fundamental functions of local government, which Cruz, a champion of local control, knows well.  His abuse of congressional power to undermine our public and charter school system violates every single local control bone in his body.  Cruz’s bill would starve local funding for D.C. public and public charter schools and redirect funds to unaccountable private schools.  While I oppose the existing private school voucher program in D.C., it at least uses federal funds.  We defeated the Cruz bill last Congress by working with Members of the House and Senate and our national and local coalition of allies, and we will do so again.”