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  • Boehner: A Leader on School Choice

    House Minority Leader John Boehner (R–OH) made quite a statement on Monday when, on his first day back in office post-elections, he took time out to meet with parents and children enrolled in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP). In doing so, Boehner sent a clear signal to D.C. families of his support for school choice in the nation’s capital. A statement released on Boehner’s blog noted:

    Boehner, a former chairman of the House Education & the Workforce Committee, reaffirmed his commitment to renewing the DC OSP despite concerted efforts by education reform opponents to end the program. … The meeting came more than a year after education reform opponents in Washington first tried to terminate this successful scholarship program. … The Obama Administration announced its intent to phase out the program by denying any new participants, and 216 students who had been slated to receive scholarships for the 2009–10 school year had those awards taken away.

    Education reform opponents now have an important choice to make: will they continue to stand with their special interest allies, or will they join us in helping to ensure more of Washington, D.C.’s most vulnerable students can obtain a quality education?

    The DCOSP has been a resounding success. Researchers at the University of Arkansas found that families were overwhelmingly satisfied with the scholarship program. Quantitative assessments of the voucher program have found that the program has had a positive impact on children’s academic achievement, particularly reading achievement. And most notably, the most recent evaluation of the DCOSP by the Department of Education revealed that students who received a voucher and used it to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate—significantly higher than students who did not receive a voucher.

    About 1,200 students are currently benefiting from the DCOSP. Without continued support for school choice in D.C., many of those students could have to return to the underperforming and unsafe public school system. But support for the DCOSP could also mean a lifeline for children currently trapped in underperforming public schools. The demand for scholarships is high: Prior to being put on life support by the Obama Administration, there were four applicants for every available scholarship.

    These scholarships, at $7,500, are not even half of the more than $18,000 spent per pupil per year in the D.C. Public School System. And yet the DCOSP is achieving results that the D.C. public school system has been unable to produce for decades.

    Boehner has been a leader in fighting for quality educational options for low-income children in the nation’s capital. And as a result of his strong support, DCOSP families are energized and hopeful that the future of education in D.C. is one full of choice and opportunity.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Boehner: A Leader on School Choice

    1. TiltedTalkDomagoy - says:

      The program has been successful, but how is it conservative? Where in the constitution does it say that the federal government is supposed to get involved in our education system? I didn't see it anywhere in Article 1 Section 8. How does a federally-funded education program meet the definition of conservatism or federalism?

      People can't claim to be conservatives yet support programs like this (even if they do work and do help the children of DC). Hypocrisy doesn't help the cause of conservatism.

    2. Bruno Behrend says:

      Kudo's to John Boehner.

      The harder, faster, and better he drives the education debate, the sooner the unions will have to come out of their bunkers and defend their record of utter greed and failure.

      Unions lack the moral legitimacy to even have a place at the table in the education debate. It is time for the sad, bizarre chapter of controlling American education to end, and to have teacher unionization end up on the ash heap of history, where it belongs.

    3. RennyG Maryland says:

      I saw a berutiful picture while visiting a Christian school. Twelve first graders standing with their little hand on their heart reciting the Plege!!!! I am having sincere sorrow for these little children suffering in these public sponsored schools. Someone, somehow get them out of there and the government control!!

    4. John Clancy says:

      Tilted Talk above is right to question the very notion that the federal government be involved in education at all.

      Newt Gingrich talks about the need for REPLACEMENT rather than reform.

      Shouldn't we think about the very structure of education in a free society? Shouldn't education be small-community based, if not private?

      Education is ultimately a very personal process. We need to empower the parents. The government, by its very nature, tends to be impersonal.

      We need to listen to thinkers like Milton Freidman and Richard Weaver.

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