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(New York Times) — In the 11th-hour compromise to avoid a government shutdown last week, one concession that President Obama made to Republicans drew scant attention: he agreed to finance vouchers for Washington students to attend private schools.  The voucher program, whose main beneficiaries are church-affiliated schools, is close to the heart of the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a product of parochial schools, who had repeatedly choked up defending it on the House floor last month.  The White House at first opposed the Opportunity Scholarship Program, saying it did not raise student achievement. But in the end it was an easy place to compromise, administration aides said, in order to save bigger, more prominent education initiatives favored by Democrats from the $38 billion in cuts.  Mr. Boehner’s beloved program is the latest example of how conservative Republicans across the country are advancing school vouchers — including offering them for the first time to middle-class families — and reviving a cause that until recently seemed moribund.

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