The Obama administration softened its position on Monday about not expanding the District of Columbia’s private school voucher program, after months of attacks by conservatives of the president’s decision to provide level funding to the program next year. Instead the administration agreed to finance slots for 85 additional students, the Huffington Post reports. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released a statement late Monday, citing an agreement that the Obama administration had reached “in partnership with Speaker [John] Boehner,” to increase the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program “from the current enrollment of about 1615 to approximately 1700 students.” This would “allow for a statistically valid evaluation of the program, as directed by Congress,” Duncan said. “The President and I are committed to ensuring that the education of the children currently in the DC Opportunity Scholarship program is not disrupted.” He added, however, “We remain convinced that our time and resources are best spent on reforming the public school system to benefit all Students and we look forward to working with Congress in a bipartisan manner to advance that goal.”

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staff and wire services reports