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  • Voices of School Choice


    Some worried D.C. schoolchildren recently asked President Obama to continue the highly successful D.C . Opportunity Scholarship Program.  The program, which allows parents the choice to to take their children out of  failing public schools,  is in danger of being scrapped completely after the 2010 school year.

    Ignoring the pleas of these children and others, a measure hidden in the omnibus spending bill effectively eliminates this program. It would make it so the funds have to be reauthorized by Congress  as well as approved by the D.C. Council, providing a real challenge for the parents, the kids, and their supporters.  There is backing for this program at the local level, but clearly little support at the congressional level.

    Who can be against a program that costs less per student than traditional federal programs and improves the school experience of children and parents alike? The $13 million cost of the D.C . Opportunity Scholarship Program is a drop in the bucket compared to the $68 billion in the federal budget for the Department of Education. The stimulus bill alone added $140 billion over two years to the Department of Education, including $15 billion for Pell Grants, which support school choice for upper-income college students.

    Effectively cutting this program would hurt only children who are already disadvantaged. The average income of families receiving scholarships is $22,736. Everyone should have a choice in education, not just the wealthy.

    President Obama, himself a beneficiary of school choice in Hawaii, sends his daughters to a private school, as do many members of Congress.  In fact, classmates of the president’s daughters would be directly affected by these cuts.

    Heritage has put together a Web site,  Voices of School Choice, where you can see first-hand how this program benefits parents and  their children and provides healthy competition for public schools.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to Voices of School Choice

    1. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Having inflicted heavy debt through the stimulus spending bill, they hurt the children even more by denying them an opportunity to pursue the education of their choice and their parents' choice. I don't understand how those hypocrites including Obama can sleep at night while they sentence inner city kids to the drug and violence infested dens called public schools. This is the biggest injustice.

    2. shane says:

      He and all want it this way so that they have a permanent "poor class" and permanent "program" voters.

    3. Brian Chidester, Los says:

      So working to improve public schools is a negative, because it effects a privileged few who are subsidized to go to private school? If the voucher system has worked so well, why are we falling drastically in the world, as far as educated Americans go? Plenty of children has been "left behind," and that's a fact.

    4. joe stevens Indianap says:

      Keep working to improve public schools. Privileged few? What does that mean? Vouchers only make up a few percent of schools. Majority of schools are still public schools. Why does the education establishment not adopt the techniques of charter and private schools? Last thing, they spend less per student, and get better results.

    5. Rich, Columbus says:


      Vouchers aren't used much because of extreme resistance from the NEA. Western Europe has a lot more school choice than the USA and their kids score better, especially as they get older.

    6. Rich, Columbus says:


      There aren't that many school vouchers because of extreme resistance from the NEA. Western Europe has a lot more school choice then the US does and their kids score better, especially at the higher grades.

    7. Robert St.Petersburg says:

      What about families (A Mother and a father who are both working hard for the future of the children) who have children that attend the poor public schools, who make let’s say 42,000 should they not be allowed to attend the private schools with government assistance? I believe the voucher application should make sure both of legal parents are contributing to the children’s education and part of the application process should be finding the other parent and making them responsible. Now I know there will be plenty of special situations that may come into play like death, incarceration or they may have moved to another country all of this should come out in the application process. I am just tired of having government funded programs that pick a house hold income out of the sky. Or we can better all the schools for all the children… WAKE UP AMERICA!

    8. Brian Chidester, Los says:

      Or we can continue to look at vouchers for the few as a solution, because one side has clearly given up on public schools. The public schooling system, by the way, was part of a new deal which saved America from the Great Depression and launched a middle class that thrived economically and technologically for decades after. How about reinstating those principles of fairness in the present? It's a long-shot, but worth seeking out. I'm not against the voucher system per se… but it's a small part of the solution. Public education is still the number one area that needs drastic overhaul.

    9. Ray Bowden, Cocoa, F says:

      Let us also not forget that ever since the New Deal and government becoming involved in "public education" that America went from top educator in the world to the worst. Let's get "public education" out of the hands of the extremely inefficient government, for a start.

    10. Barb -mn says:

      That's right. Government education is destructive. My son got into trouble and meeting with the counselor I spoke saying "strength of self discipline will help." The counselor immediately corrected me saying "if self discipline is all that is needed, I wouldn't have a job." Hmm, and if you didn't have this government job my taxes wouldn't be outrageously high. Government schools don't allow children to figure things out for themselves. Government schools have paid staff of various programs to figure things out for the children. Leaving children with limited mind ability.

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    12. kevin, new haven says:

      How about all the thousands of kids who don't get vouchers and are still stuck in the terribly under-performing schools that these lucky few were able to get out of? How about we ask the parents of those kids how they feel about voucher programs? It's somewhat of a utopian notion to say that if we just give all families "school choice," everyone will be able to pick a better school to go to and education will improve for all! But who gets stuck going to the under-performing schools? Kids with young/single/un-involved parents, i.e. the kids who need the most help in the first place. Instead, how about increasing funding for charter and magnet schools, incentive pay for teachers, and allowing public schools the independence and flexibility to develop programs that best fit their own students.

    13. Jeff Chidester, Char says:

      It's a laudable goal to want our public schools to provide a great education. And they did do a tremendous job in creating a new and thriving middle class at a time when education was only for those with means. But the sad fact is that the public school system is failing in many areas, particularly urban areas. And while we cling to these ideals for a perfect public education system, we've now failed an entire generation of American students.

      In addition, I think a distinction needs to be drawn beteween public schools and public education. Even though vouchers don't go to public schools per se, they are still publicly financed. As long as those who cannot afford private schools are being adequately educated, isn't that all that really matters?

    14. Ray Bowden, Cocoa, F says:

      Again, if we take education out of the hands of the government, the greater good will be served. Even though the government steals 25% of my pay, supposedly to help the "underpriveledged", I still give to private organizations like the United Way which give 100% of donations to those in need. What government program do you know of that gives even 50% of "collected" money to those it's supposed to serve? Name one government program that has EVER been run efficiently. If more people had more of their pay they, like me, would give more to help those kids your talking about. Why don't we ask those kids and parents how they feel about the fact that their education and opportunities are suffering because the government thinks they and their community are not smart enough to make the best choices for themselves?

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    16. Ray Grasing, Nescons says:

      If you can give these kids a chance, why not? Who cares about ideology? Opportunity, to get out of drug infested, violence prone, schools and neighborhoods is what should count. Why not help a few when you can, even though you can't help all now? Give these kids a fighting chance, keep the scholorships.

    17. kevin, new haven says:

      It's always amazing to me that conservatives always say government doesn't work, no government program has ever worked, government is always the problem, etc. But as soon as someone criticizes the largest, most highly-funded and bureaucratic area of our government (the military), they're demonized as a traitor, etc.

    18. Missy, Palm Bay, FL says:

      Ahh.. Kevin in New Haven… The purpose of the government is national defense. It's not supposed to be education.

    19. Ray Bowden, Cocoa, F says:

      kevin, there is more to life than liberals and conservatives. You'll get no argument out of me that the military is too large and overly funded, especially with the technology today. We don't need to police the world or maintain bases in over 100 countries, like today. I would be a hypocrite condemning government in one area but not another.

      My point is that government should only be involved in it's citizen's affairs no more than the Constitution allows, period.

      There are always consequences when government interferes in our lives, whether it's under the guise of our good or not.

    20. Resi, in New York says:

      A well-run military is what the government should do best. It should not indoctrinate our children under the guise of education. However, it is not the government's fault that our schools are failing and a fair public school system can work if teacher's unions were not so powerful. Your education in any given year is only as good as the teacher in front of you. Our poor performing schools are the result of the stranglehold of unions and their selfish pandering to lazy teachers. And Obama is all about increasing the power of unions, not only in education (they were one of his biggest campaign contributors) but in all areas of business and industry. So what do we do about that?

    21. Brian Chidester, Los says:

      I can only point to my own experience, having gone to a public school… Gordon Middle School in Coatesville, PA… a mere block from the local project housing, and a central location for drug-pushers. In and amongst that crime-ridden exposure, we had teachers who were consistently winning awards for their performance in our state, and I felt that it was amongst the most adequately run public school many of us could hope to encounter, without knowing things were ever different elsewhere.

      Was it a grand scheme on the part of these teachers, or were they simply devoted to giving the best education possible? It's easy to talk from arms-length about the violence and failure of union lazies. The reality, you might find, is far different.

      These aren't teachers mozying their way through decades like dinosaurs. This is their livelihood. Many of them feel passion, and in one instance, I had a math teacher who told us on the first day on 9th grade that, after four years which he considered his dark period, he'd recently had a renewed sense of purpose. By that time, I'd almost given up on math and school in general. Instead, my high school years became inspired, and I went on to college, to write a book and to work in documentaries. Perhaps some of my fellow comrades in the ghetto could have fared better had they been given vouchers to private schools, but I can honestly say that everyone I know who went to school in my class is today contributing successfully to our society. I'm certain there are the casualties (both intellectually and true fallen soldiers), but most (if not all) cherished our times together and our teachers too, K-12.

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    24. Roxanne, Tucson says:

      Parents in the District of Columbia–I hope you come together and fight for the DCOSP, fight for your kids! The only time anything worthwhile will get done is if the Department of Education is closed. Public education is dead!! Years and years and millions and millions of dollars and plenty of programs to go along with them and nothing has work. All that money just to prop up the NEA, the teachers unions and political bureaucrats! DCOSP, the program that works Obama wants to scrap! Liberals don't give a damn about anybody! They don't care whether minority kids get a good education or not a high school dropout can vote democrat just as good as anyone else! Don't let that happen! God bless.

    25. Pingback: links better education « education webs

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