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  • Serrano's Indefensible Anti-Scholarship Position

    As the fight to save the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program heats up, Rep. Jose Serrano, Chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that regulates appropriations to the District of Columbia, is attempting to justify his opposition to the successful scholarships. In a Washington Post oped last week, Serrano writes:

    “When I assumed the chairmanship of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees federal payments to the District, I announced that I was not interested in being a second mayor. Toward that end, I have worked to minimize Congress’s interference in D.C. affairs by steadily removing harmful, intrusive social policy directives from annual spending bills. But unfortunately, time and again one issue has dragged me into that unwanted ‘mayoral’ role: school vouchers.”

    If Serrano is concerned about the existence of “harmful, intrusive social policy directives,” there are indeed many ineffective federal programs that should worry him. However, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is not one of them. Serrano is trying to end a program that works – scholarships that are providing a lifeline out of underperforming and unsafe D.C. public schools for low-income children.

    Federally-mandated evaluations have shown that the children who received vouchers are reading far ahead of their peers who remained in public school. And, the Opportunity Scholarships have strong local support and strong parental support.

    Mayor Fenty has voiced his support for the voucher program, as have a majority of the D.C. City Council members. And, with overwhelming local support – more than 70 percent of D.C. residents support the program’s continuation – Rep. Serrano can rest assured that continued funding for the OSP is representing the interests of District families.

    Why end it the successful scholarship program? If Serrano is bent on ending the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program – a federal program that does work – shouldn’t he be equally adamant about ending the many federal programs that don’t work?

    Serrano concludes begrudgingly, agreeing that those currently in the program should stay:

    “I accept the fact that Congress will have to continue to fund the children who are in the Opportunity Scholarship Program. I understand that, since Congress started them down this road, we must follow through on our obligation.”

    District residents are trying desperately to ensure that a policy allowing low-income children to attend a safe and effective school remains in tact.

    Before further maligning the successful scholarships, Serrano should watch Let Me Rise: The Struggle to Save School Choice in the Nation’s Capitol. Perhaps hearing the voices of the children whose lives have been changed thanks to the OSP will make him reconsider his anti-choice position.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Serrano's Indefensible Anti-Scholarship Position

    1. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      I knew it the moment Obama opened his mouth about cutting the "unworkable" federal programs. I knew they would find anything workable and kill it. This is another example as History unfolds, federal zombies like Serrano hypnotically does the opposite of common sense. I swear to you, there is such a thing as Nancy Pelosi Disease, the immunity to reason required for a good Manchurian Candidate. Now, it actually is a psychosis but it cannot be diagnosed because the APA sat on the disease. In the Cold War we called it "Indoctrination" but away back then we knew what the words mean.

    2. TerryP, Nebraska says:

      I don't get his thought process on this matter. If the DC scholarships are a good idea and help the students then they should be continued. If they are bad and don't help then why continue them at all. He seems to be acknowledging that they are a good thing by continuing them for the current students, because if they didn't work why would you continue them.

    3. Micki-Tamarac, FL says:

      2011 CAN'T GET HERE SOON ENOUGH, I HOPE WE STILL HAVE A COUNTRY AND I HOPE PEOPLE ARE PAYING ATTENTION.

    4. thed, dc says:

      The underlying goal of the present administration is to shut down everything that is independently successful and replace it with government-run entities that work toward dumbing down society and destroying capitalism. I was a teacher in DC public schools and the public has no idea of how out of control the students really are behind closed doors. Many schools are filled with unmanagable, unproductive students. Teachers are overwhelmed by poor student behaviors and attitudes. The public shouldn't trust the "test scores" – they don't reflect the truth that is going on behind many of the closed doors of the public schools in DC or anywhere else in massive school districts. There are schools in DCPS that are truly performing well, but those are not the norm. It's all a smoke screen to make the school districts and city leaders look like they are productive so they can keep their jobs and reap the luxuries of power.

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