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(Afro) — Last week’s congressional and White House approval of a budget that includes the $100 million, five-year renewal of a D.C. school-choice program is stirring controversy between local officials, unions and residents.  Detractors say the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which provides private school vouchers for low-income District students, has not borne the promised fruit and siphons off funds that can be used to nurture the city’s public and public charter schools. Proponents, however, argue the program boosts student scores and makes available better learning environments for disadvantaged children, and say it has been unjustly dragged through partisan turmoil.  Incepted in 2004, the program became the first in the nation to provide low-income students with federally funded K-12 scholarships of up to $7,500 to cover private school tuition. But the program came to a halt in spring 2009 when Democrats killed its reauthorization amid reports questioning its outcomes.

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