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  • WaPo: "Save the Vouchers"

    From the Washington Post editorial board this Sunday:

    OPTIMISM THAT the District’s federally funded school voucher program will be allowed to flourish is fading. Leading Democrats say that they are open to letting new students enter the program, but efforts to make that a reality seem to have stalled. Indeed, it appears that some Democrats’ idea of saving the program is simply to let it slowly wither away.

    The future of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which gives low-income parents up to $7,500 so their children can attend private school, will be determined within the next weeks as Congress decides appropriations bills. What’s on the table is a proposal advanced by President Obama that would extend the program until the 1,700 students currently receiving vouchers have graduated from high school. But no new students would be accepted.

    We have a hard time understanding the president’s logic. The argument for discontinuation is that the program has not proved to be effective. Why then come up with millions of dollars to continue it for the next 12 years? Besides, scientific studies have shown clear benefits in terms of parental satisfaction and improved student reading. Why deny these advantages to new students?

    D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and a majority of the D.C. Council favor letting in new students. Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has been working behind the scenes to win support for a proposal that would allow new students to be admitted to slots vacated by those exiting the program. She believes that it will be at least five years before the public schools will be at a point where they will provide the right alternative for all parents.

    Key to the program’s future are Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.), who head important appropriations subcommittees. Spokesmen for the two men assured us “no final deal” has been reached. We’ll continue to hope that they will allow a worthwhile educational program to serve children who desperately need help.

    Here is the link to the study showing that the vouchers work. Specifically the study found:

    One subgroup that made notable improvement was the first group of applicants to the program, or 21 percent of the treatment group. Students in this subgroup who were offered or used scholarships made gains in reading achievement that were the equivalent of 14.1 and 18.9 months, respectively, of additional learning—a gain that is approximately 1.5 to two school years of learning. These are the students who have been in the program the longest and have had the greatest opportunity to benefit from their parents’ choice.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to WaPo: "Save the Vouchers"

    1. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      The voucher programs work – period.

      Of course, what does that say for the majority of the public school systems?

      Why are the leftists so afraid of competition if their real concern is the students?

      It is far time that a future president has the courage to abolish the Department of Education. States and local communities should have the purview on education.

    2. Rita Lawrence, KC says:

      I suspect that the majority of private schools are parochial and there is major opposition to Christianity in government, thus unlikely to want to support student attendance.

    3. Rayford Davenport says:

      Think Unions.

    4. AndyB, Davie, FL says:

      This Administration does not want anyone to get a decent education, especially in DC; students may become smart enough to realize that Obama is not the Messiah and that the country is fast going down the toilet.

    5. Tim Az says:

      The elitists in DC concerns are rooted in the belief that an ignorant citizenry serves their elitist's best.

      How's that hope and change working out for you?

    6. Larry Welch, Idaho says:

      When people voted for "change", they were "hoping" that the kinds of successes these charter schools produce would be multiplied and extended. Instead, we see proven opportunity crushed under the pressure of union power. When proven opportunity threatens the union power base, the union speaks and "guess who" listens. The voters have been betrayed.

    7. cadli lv. says:

      Explanation is simple;Democrats do want their votes.If they are educated Democrats will lose most of their votes.And then bye bye toe elections.

    8. Gail, Beverly, MA says:

      Since January, hope has disappeared, change is happening but not in the way many people envisioned. Competition is the only way public schools will make positive changes to improve education. Parents need real choice with vouchers and charter schools being the answer. The President's rhetoric doesn't match his actions. I agree that keeping people undereducated is the way liberals will remain in power. I think the conservative movement is finally beginning to say "No more".

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