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  • Budget 2011: Crushing Dreams for DC Vouchers Students

    President Obama’s FY2011 budget confirms his administration’s plans to phase out the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. There are two clear indicators of this in the budget: the elimination of future funding for the program and the effective consolidation of the “three-sector approach” into two sectors. With regard to the elimination of funding, page 1244 states:

    The Budget proposes to continue to provide private school vouchers for only those students currently enrolled in the program…it is expected that this will be the final request for Federal funding to support the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Any funds not used in 2011 will be available in the future years to provide scholarships to the current cohort of students.

    If adopted by Congress, this language would permanently restrict scholarship funding to the $9.4 million proposed in the FY2011 budget (which decreases to $8.4 million after subtracting the $1 million appropriated for administrative costs and tests). But as unfortunate as the elimination of the D.C. OSP is, the continued political pay-off to the D.C. public school system is equally appalling.

    As part of the original legislation creating the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, D.C. Public Schools and D.C. public charter schools received additional payments on top of their regular federal appropriations. For D.C. public schools, federal appropriations exceed $120 million. The D.C. Public School System and the D.C. public charter schools each received their own allocation of $13 million to match the $13 million in funding used to create the D.C. OSP. The D.C. public schools and charter schools would have never seen any of this additional money if it weren’t for the creation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

    Yet, as funding for the Opportunity Scholarships continues to decline, appropriations to the other two sectors continue to grow. According to President Obama’s FY2011 budget, funding for the D.C. OSP is slashed to $8.4 million (after administrative costs), while the additional public school and public charter school funding is increased to $23 million and $20 million, respectively. What’s more, the president’s budget also includes what he calls a “jump start” for reforms for the D.C. public schools of an additional $20 million, taking the grand total for D.C. public schools to $43 million. And remember, this is all in addition to D.C.P.S.’ regular federal appropriations.

    As the President and Congress continue to funnel taxpayer money into the unsafe and underperforming D.C. Public School System, they are simultaneously cutting funding for the one federal education program we know works – the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The president’s budget punctuates his policy of exercising school choice for his own family while denying it to the low-income children struggling in the nation’s capital.

    Thankfully, supporters of educational opportunity in D.C. have not stopped fighting. Last week, Senator Joe Lieberman and Representative John Boehner sent a letter to President Obama asking him to support school choice in the District. Tomorrow (February 4th), Senator Lieberman and Senator Susan Collins will host a press conference in support of the D.C. OSP. Despite the administration’s efforts to phase out the successful scholarships, District families have not given up hope.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Budget 2011: Crushing Dreams for DC Vouchers Students

    1. Stephen G, Chicago says:

      The Left knows that the way to change a society from within is to focus on economics (and fundamentally alter the way the nation thinks about and handles economics).

      Conservatives MUST wake up and begin again to make the case for free enterprise and its intrinsic link to political and religious freedom.

      THIS is the column that explains how conservatives can do just that: http://rjmoeller.com/2010/02/the-economics-of-mer

    2. Bobbie Jay says:

      If it works? STOP FUNDING IT! If not? make it a crisis, WASTE MORE MONEY INTO IT!

      All his actions are doing is using stolen tax dollars to collapse the core principles and values of this great nation who made plenty of all mankind, successful. Much of the public educated have lost their ability to think for themselves, freely and without influence. Home school is best these days. There is absolutely nothing to trust the government on.

    3. Steve says:

      Obama does not get it, Arnie Duncan does not get it. Maybe the African-American community ought to realize these people don't care about these inner-city kids. All they want is a better life, their parents want a good education for them. Mr, President get your act together! Support these kids, they are at risk as is, let alone you are going to pull the rug out from under them. So much for the ELITES…they are useless.

    4. Steve,chicago,il says:

      Obama doesn't care, Arnie Duncan doesn't care, Congress doesn't care. These kids parents care and any decent citizen cares. These are inner city children who are at high risk to begin with. For God's sake give them a fighting chance they deserve. So much for Hope&Change. Obama is a cold guy, he is a fake, and he is so wrong on this I want to throw up.

    5. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Once again, Obama wants to keep the childern "stupit". He doesn't want them to learn to think for themselvies or learn the truth. In short, he wants to raise more

      Democrat voters.

    6. Pingback: Fenty Responds to Poll Numbers, Sorta: Loose Lips Daily - City Desk - Washington City Paper

    7. Kevin Habib, Glen Bu says:

      I thought the Republicans have been asking for reduced spending and a hard freeze on all discretionary funds.

      I find this issue odd. Seems like a fairly liberal program, but most Dems seem to oppose and most Republicans seem to support.

      I don't know who to believe – i read so mnay things that the program does not work and they keep changing criteria for saying that it works. But the parties seem to be on opposite sides of where they usually are on taxpayer funded programs.

    8. Pingback: Dc Public Schools Online

    9. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      The United States is re-experiencing Woodrow Wilson, and the terrible, frightening edge that he brought this Nation so close to once before. Study the History of Wilson to learn how to defeat Obama.

    10. Lauren, Louisville, says:

      After working in an alternative school in DC several years ago, I find it appalling that a man who sends his daughters to private school does not think that low income families should have the same choice. I find it equally appalling that the president chooses to dump more of our money into a failing school system!!

    11. Rodney, Frankfort KY says:

      I agree. If these supposedly at risk kids were doing better in these schools then that shouldn't be taken away from them. Unfortunately, Obama and the progressives need these kids to be kept stupid so they can control them through leftist brainwashing into believing that big government helps when all big government does is destroy.

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