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Letters: Taking Exception

Fattah defends scholarship spending

The Dec. 23 editorial "Fattah: It's an 'audit,' " regarding the Philadelphia College Opportunity Resources for Education (CORE Philly) program that I founded, contains several errors and misstatements.

The most egregious concerns the "quick math" assertion that the sum of scholarships awarded "leaves $15 million to be accounted for." In fact, 13,000 students (not 3,000 as the editorial says, confusing current recipients with all those since 2004) have received $24 million through this first-of-its-kind program. Every dollar for scholarships from the city, the school district, and federal agencies has gone directly toward those scholarships. Not a penny is unaccounted for.

Also, it is misleading to cite only November's $1 million cut in the city's partnership share in my decision to close the program. Two separate cutbacks, starting with $1.5 million last summer, slashed the city's contribution from $4 million to $1.5 million, a 62.5 percent reduction this fiscal year.

I am immensely proud of my long record working to improve the life chances of our most underserved students. No member of Congress has provided more successful educational programs. Locally, no person, elected or otherwise, has provided, from early childhood to graduate school, the educational opportunities I have.

As Pennsylvania's senior congressman, I expect to be held to a high standard, but I also expect accuracy and balance.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah