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Killing Opportunity Scholarships Is The Real Clunker
Posted By Lindsey Burke On August 11, 2009 @ 1:18 pm In Education | 12 Comments
Last week, Congress rushed to infuse an additional $2 billion into the “Cash for Clunkers” program on the grounds that it is wildly popular. “I’d like to see that program extended…I hope we can get it done,” stated  Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). “I think the last thing any politician wants to do is cut off opportunity for somebody who wants to get a rebate to buy a new automobile,” stated  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Durbin and LaHood were not alone in their sentiments. According to the Associated Press, Vice President Joe Biden said the program is an “unqualified success” :
I think it would be hard to tell…the thousands of people who have just traded in gas guzzlers for more efficient cars that this is having no impact.
If, as the “Clunkers” paradigm suggests, popularity is the metric by which success is determined, politicians should be scrambling to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. Since 2004, more than four students have applied for each available scholarship, substantiating the popularity of the program.
Unfortunately, the popularity of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program – which provides scholarships of up to $7,500 for more than 1,700 low-income children in D.C. to attend a safe and effective private school of their choice – seemed to be of little concern to those same members who saw to create a nearly insurmountable hurdle to the program’s continuation. Senator Dick Durbin went out of his way to try to kill the $12 million scholarship program last year by inserting language into the Omnibus bill designed to phase-out the school vouchers.
But a newly released poll  of D.C. residents reveals just how popular the scholarship program is to families:
If popularity is the metric for determining program continuation, members of Congress should certainly look to D.C. residents for guidance.
As our Heritage colleagues James Gattuso and Nick Loris point out  however, “There is a difference between popularity and success.” In the case of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, both popularity and success define the program. Students are safer  and, in the case of those students who say in the program the longest, are reading up to two years ahead of their peers  who remained in D.C. public schools.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/08/11/killing-opportunity-scholarships-is-the-real-clunker/
URLs in this post:
 stated: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i_J2CDMBIZhobnHhGIYFCzqvR52wD99RNPO80
 stated: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i_J2CDMBIZhobnHhGIYFCzqvR52wD99SUM581
 newly released poll: http://www.friedmanfoundation.org/downloadFile.do?id=375
 point out: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Regulation/wm2579.cfm
 safer: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/wm2437.cfm
 reading up to two years ahead of their peers: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/wm2391.cfm
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