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  • Not Giving School Choice Its Due

    The Hill reports that President Obama’s contribution to Sidwell Friend’s recent fundraising auction was less than impressive, if not downright disappointing. The school, which is home to first daughters Malia and Sasha, holds the auction to fund scholarships for low-income children whose families cannot afford tuition at the elite school.

    When the children of presidents attend Sidwell Friends, expectations for the auction run high. When Chelsea Clinton was a student, her father agreed to play a round of golf with the highest bidder, while Chelsea herself offered babysitting services. Chelsea continues to raise money for the auction by donating lunches and dinners for high bidders. What have the Obamas donated? Why, signed pictures of themselves, of course! The winning bidders will receive a copy of Rolling Stone signed by President Obama and an autographed copy of Michelle Obama’s Vogue cover.

    The Hill continues:

    Money raised in the auction supports scholarships for low-income youth whose parents cannot afford the pricey tuition. Recently, President Obama signed into law an omnibus appropriations bill that — with the stroke of a pen — ended the DC Opportunity Scholarships that help 1,700 Washington students afford private school. Two of those who benefit from the program, Sara and James Parker, are schoolmates of the Obama daughters.

    Similarly, with the stroke of a pen — autographing Rolling Stone — Obama limited the amount of money that would be raised to provide scholarships. A round of golf with Bill Clinton when he was president sold for nearly six figures. Surely a round of golf with Obama would fetch far more and help low-income, largely minority students attend Sidwell Friends.

    Alas, low-income students in DC have probably grown accustomed to such disappointment. George Will recently painted a clear picture of the program’s future, noting:

    This issue [of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program] will be back. In a few months, the appropriation bill for the District will come to the floor of the House of Representatives, at which point there will be a furious fight for the children’s interests. Then we will learn whether the president and his congressional allies are capable of embarrassment. On the evidence so far, they are not.

    Nor is Congress embarrassed by the fact that they embrace school choice for their own families, while simultaneously denying such a choice to poor children in the District. Despite the fact that 44 percent of Senators and 36 percent of Representatives have at one point sent a child to private school, an amendment by Senator Ensign which would have saved the D.C. voucher program was voted down 58-39.

    While the President recently created reason for optimism stating, “Secretary Duncan will use only one test when deciding what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars: It’s not whether an idea is liberal or conservative, but whether it works,” it does not appear they’ve applied that logic to the case of DC scholarships. The Department of Education knows the program works. Parents know the program works. Children certainly know the program works.

    Why won’t the President and Congress let it work?

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Not Giving School Choice Its Due

    1. Victoria, Florida says:

      Nothing new under the sun with this Romeo in the white house.

    2. Tom Sheely, Las Vega says:

      School Vouchers – Do the Math

      So many issues of the day are debated only at the surface. It is at the surface where well marketed emotional sound bites have the advantage. And on this level it is the Democrats who are politically superior. School vouchers are one of those issues where the Democrats have been kicking the Republicans tail with their emotional sound bites.

      The Republicans have been ineffective in countering the Democrat’s claim that vouchers take money away from the children in public schools. If Republicans would use logic and reason it should be easy to convince all Americans that nothing could be further from the truth.


      We spend $7,000 to $10,000 per student in public schools. If we gave parents a $2000 voucher per child to go to a school of their choice, what affect will that have on public education?

      OK, let’s do the math.

      If a public school class has 30 students and spends $7,000 per child, then the total funds for the classroom is $210,000. If 10 of those students receive a voucher worth $2,000 and go to a private school, then a total of $20,000 is subtracted from the funds for the classroom. Now the classroom only has $190,000 to spend. By stopping the analysis here at the surface level, the Democrats win with their emotional argument, “See, vouchers takes money away from children in public school”

      But, AND THIS IS A BIG BUT, at the deeper level, using logic and reason, you find the real truth. The classroom now only has 20 students. Now there is over $9,500 available per child for those remaining in the public school classroom. In this example, a $2,000 voucher system would cause a 35% increase in the money available per child left behind in public school.

      The voucher system helps children in both public and private schools, but the voucher system does hurt the bureaucrats in the system. The Republicans are fighting for the children and the Democrats are fighting for the bureaucrats.

    3. Frank W., New Mexico says:

      Private schools consistantly turn out better students then public schools. Why is this so hard for the politicians to figure out? I think it starts with calm fair rules of conduct at the school. I went to Private school and we all wore uniforms we didn't have kids with $200.00 dollar shoes on and our cloths had to be neat and clean. Shirt tails tucked in and shoes shined. You didn't see these kids like I've seen going to school with my children. They wear their pants so low they have fuzz in the front and crack in the back. I took my kids out of public school to prevent them from learning to be stupid even if they are smart. They need discipline, uniformity and teachers that are interested in teaching instead of lining up their Euopean summer vacation for credits to get their masters and get on tenure. Shame on our public school system. More money is not the answer.

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