From the AP:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday that poor children getting vouchers to attend private schools in the District of Columbia should be allowed to stay there even as congressional Democrats work to end the program.
His remarks, in an interview with The Associated Press, put the Obama administration at odds with Democrats who oppose the program because it spends public dollars on private schools.
Duncan opposes vouchers. But he said Washington is a special case, and kids already in private schools on the public dime should be allowed to continue.
"I don't think it makes sense to take kids out of a school where they're happy and safe and satisfied and learning," Duncan told said. "I think those kids need to stay in their school."
Democrats in Congress have written a spending bill that would effectively end the program after next year. The bill says Congress and the city council would have to OK more money, which is unlikely.
A vote is expected later this week.
Lawmakers, in a statement accompanying the bill, said no new children should be enrolled in the program. And they said D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee should take steps to minimize any disruption for kids as they transition back into public schools.
The issue of vouchers exposes a deep fissure between Republicans, who support them, and Democrats, who oppose them. . . .