• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • What about Their Brothers and Sisters?

    This week, the White House signaled that it would prevent Congress from ending the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, at least for participating children.

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters on Wednesday: “It wouldn’t make sense to disrupt the education of those that are in that system,” Gibbs said in discussing the president’s thinking. “And I think we’ll work with Congress to ensure that a disruption like that doesn’t take place.” This follows a similar statement from Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week.

    Reading between the lines, it’s becoming clear where the Obama administration stands: they support allowing current scholarship recipients to continue at their private schools. But they will likely oppose allowing new children to enter into the program—setting the program on course to wither away over time.

    While this would be a better result than the worst case scenario (taking scholarships away from children who are happy with their schools), it should still be considered a major disappointment for D.C .families and everyone who believes that families should be able to choose the best school for their kids. The results would ensure that thousands of current and future D.C. students attend low-performing and often-violent public schools.

    Consider the wise words of 3rd-grader De’Andre, who is currently using an opportunity scholarship to attend private school. In his testimonial on VoicesOfSchoolChoice.org, De’Andre tells President Obama how thankful he is for his scholarship:

    I love to learn and I will continue this with your help by keeping the scholarship going. I have benefited from it greatly. And I want my sisters to have a chance to use it also.

    A compromise that allows current students to stay in the program would avoid the PR nightmare for the administration of seeing low-income kids pulled out of private schools, including the classrooms of Sidwell Friends where the President’s children attend school. But we shouldn’t forget about all of the other children in the D.C. school system that would benefit from the opportunity to attend a school of their parents’ choice.

    In D.C. public schools, statistics show that a student is as likely to report “being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property” as they are to score “proficient” on the NAEP reading test in 8th grade. All D.C. families deserve the power to choose the right school for their children.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to What about Their Brothers and Sisters?

    1. Barb -mn says:

      What about em'. Sorry, but I believe all public schools and charters should close down as everyone of them are getting worse and worse. There are no expectations of the children. The pioneer press in the local section states an article "Fail the test, get the diploma anyway?"

      Rep. Carlos Mariani states "Frankly, until we get things right in our k-12 systems, I'd rather move kids forward!!! It goes on and then supporters argue it is just a short term solution????

      This is an admittance of failure! They've been stealing from us for years and this is what we get??????? Close em down! I ask all true teachers who's will is to educate the truth and consequence of honesty, along with the basic curriculum to please bring your talent to private schools where students appreciate learning and you teaching. Please help close public government schools down. Our children don't deserve it.

      All though your salaries will be less, you are worth so much more! To the parents and the children.

      Please don't waste yourselves in public schools if you have integrity.

    2. Ron, Derry NH says:

      I see nothing good about this administrations plans and direction. It seems they are only concerned with establishing every bad program they have not been able to get through congress by debate and vote over the years and cutting and demolishing programs of any kind they didn't invent.

      Americans need to wake up to the strangulation the unions have put against improving education through competition or intervention, and realize that mob rule has come to America.

    3. Jamey, Central Calif says:

      ARE YOU KIDDING ME!??!!!?!?! For PR he(obama) will "ALLOW" current children to attend, but disallow future cheildren to go to schools HIS children attendend?! This guy is liberalism on parade! GO CHANGE!. I hope all who voted for this guy is PROUD! I am hanging my head in shame over MY president. This guy is an empty suit. He says whatever the pr people say the polls say he should say! The guy has NO morals! What the Heck are you people thinking?! What more do you need to hear?

    4. Alex Tijerina says:

      Primetime on ABC last night with John Strassel had a good interview with parents,educators, and business people.

      This administration is push for Universal day care. Like on lady said,"they cannot ever educate our children K-12 and now they want pre-school. The average student cost in the US is $14,000 a year. Private school can do it for half of this and teach morals.

    5. Alex Simic, Windsor says:

      This is so sad. It doesn't even make economic sense to shut this program down. I believe cost per student at D.C. public schools is more than the cost of a scholarship. What about the future of the chidren who are doomed to serve out their sentence at these D.C. public schools. Here is a program that actually works, where everybody wins and there is no downside. And it is being killed.

    6. Greg says:

      You are correct. The DC scholarship costs only $7,500, barely over half the cost of educating a student in DC's awful public school system. After only two years scholarship students are performing slightly better, but more importantly virtually every parent in the program is more satisfied. They know their child better than Washington politicians and can see that they are in a safer, more disciplined learning environment where they are making progress.

      Think about it this way. If a scholarship child's parents decide they don't like his or her new private school they can put him back in public school. But if a public school child's parents decide they don't like thier child's school – they're screwed. 86% of scholarship kids are from schools that are failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). These kids are leaving failing schools and attending better schools and the Democrats, who are so sanctimonious about protecting the poor, want to keep them trapped in a school that can't teach them or even keep them safe.

    7. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    8. mike baker Dallas Ce says:

      Home-schoolers should unionize if they want public funding and Democrat support.

    9. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      I just don't understand why the Republicans not seize the opportunity in a big way full with Capitol Hill demonstration and speeches and expose the hypocrisy of the socialists who are in charge. You show the faces of those kids and their parents and ask the rhetorical question, "Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin-why do you want to destroy the future of these kids and engage in child abuse?. You send your kids to private schools. Why don't you allow the same choice to the poor and disadvantaged parents of DC?"

      Instead, the Republicans just sit there and say nothing any body can hear.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×