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  • Morning Bell: An Opportunity to Throw Kids A Lifeline

    In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, children suffer in a public education system rife with violence and ranked among the worst in the nation. Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives took action to give those students some hope when it voted to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (D.C. OSP), which provides scholarships to low-income children, allowing them to attend their school of choice. It was one of the most consequential education votes that Congress will make this year. The program empowers parents, and it rejects the notion that a child should be relegated to a failing public school because they were born in the wrong zip code. Yet, remarkably, the program faces opposition from President Barack Obama and Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

    The D.C. OSP was first launched in 2004, and since that time more than 3,300 children have had the chance to escape the underperforming and unsafe D.C. public schools. The statistics are jarring. As The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke notes, the D.C. public school system ranks 51st in the nation. Only 14 percent of 8th graders are proficient in reading, and just 55 percent of students in D.C. public schools graduate. Under the D.C. OSP, though, students have blossomed amid otherwise unfertile ground. Burke writes:

    Congressionally mandated evaluations of the D.C. OSP, conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, revealed that scholarship students were making gains in reading achievement compared with their public school peers.  The gains in academic attainment, however, have been most astounding.

    While just more than half of all students in D.C. public schools graduate, 91% of students who received a voucher and used it to attend private school graduated.

    Despite the program’s success, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) inserted language into a 2009 omnibus spending bill that brought about the program’s slow death and, without congressional reauthorization, no new students were allowed to receive scholarships. With the new Congress, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) introduced a bill re-authorizing the D.C. OSP; in anticipation of its passage in the House, President Obama launched a pre-emptive strike against the program. The White House issued a statement of opposition to the D.C. OSP, ignored evidence of its success and claimed, “it has not yielded improved student achievement by its scholarship recipients compared to other students in D.C.” Yesterday, The Washington Post editorial board strongly rebuked the president and cited testimony by the principal investigator charged with evaluating the program, Patrick J. Wolf:

    ‘In my opinion, by demonstrating statistically significant experimental impacts on boosting high school graduation rates and generating a wealth of evidence suggesting that students also benefited in reading achievement, the D.C. OSP has accomplished what few educational interventions can claim: It markedly improved important education outcomes for low-income inner-city students.’

    Sadly, despite the documented success of the program, the choice it offers parents and the opportunities it gives students in an otherwise failing school system, President Obama stands in opposition to its reauthorization, along with Democrats in the Senate. As Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice and visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation said, “The president cannot claim to be an education reformer while rejecting a program that raises graduation rates, increases parental satisfaction and boosts reading achievement.”

    The president and Members of Congress who oppose the D.C. OSP are committing another offense against D.C. parents, as well – depriving them of the very choices they enjoy. Nearly 40 percent of the Members of the 111th Congress sent a child to private school. As a child, President Obama was a scholarship recipient, affording him the opportunity to attend the prestigious Punahou School in Hawaii. On top of this, his daughters attend the upscale Sidwell Friends School in D.C. As Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said in a floor speech prior to yesterday’s vote:

    I went to the public schools in South Carolina. My wife teaches in the public schools in South Carolina. And my son will graduate from the public schools in South Carolina. But I will miss his graduation like many of you have missed things in your lives because we will be in session. What I will not miss is the opportunity to throw a lifeline to kids who were born through the vicissitudes of life into poverty. We will give them the same choices and chances that we have.

    President Obama and Congress have an opportunity to throw that lifeline. If they truly want to empower parents, improve education and help students succeed, supporting the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program would be a good place to start.

    Quick Hits

    Posted in Education, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    74 Responses to Morning Bell: An Opportunity to Throw Kids A Lifeline

    1. NCT, Colorado says:

      Wow, the dems are passing up an opportunity to spend money! This demonstrates the stranglehold the NEA has on them.

    2. RUTH SC says:

      We all know Mr.O will not be giving his approval to anyone or any thing that does not glorify him. What is good for his kids, you can't have. Everyone knows there are kids who will never want to go to school, and parents who will never give a hoot if the kids learn or not, as long as they are fed and babysat at no expense to them. I know for a fact, some kids are just waiting for a better way to learn and people who care that they learn. If that means kids need to go to a different school than the one they are in, we should let them try to get the best education they can. Life is hard enough with an education but without it, there is little hope. The virtual school system is making strides but parents have to be pro-active in the child's education. So many parents cannot be home with there kids so they have to go to school, I praise the parents who want better for the kids, even though they can't be home to home school them. We need to overhaul the thinking system for all of our kids so no child has to attend a school that is detrimental to learning. God Bless our country, and God Bless our children.

    3. Jocelyn Taylor says:

      Our Mr. Obama is a do as i say, Not how I can do….

      sample – he can tell parents how and where to send to schools but he does not have to live by his own rules …..

    4. RUTH SC says:

      Whatever it takes is what we need to do, children are our best commodity. The more we invest in our kids now, the more they will make good decisions for the country later .A good education should be made available to all who want it and will use it, we can only better the country and world with more education. So many give away programs just keep people down, education is the way up.

    5. Bob Spletzer says:

      I am sorry to see that students in D.C. may be deprived of this opportunity but am I am missing something regarding the funding mechanism for these vouchers? Is the fedeeral government limited to only supporting D.C. school students?

      I am from Michigan and the Detroit Public School System is the poster child for how not to run schools and it would be good to have the kids in Detroit offered the same opportunities as the D.C. students.

      If someone could enlighten me I would appreciate it because if this is so successful in D.C. should it not be applied to schools districts such as Detroit?

    6. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      WHY does the HF and GOP want to END PUBLIC EDUCATION?

      All schools should be improved.

      THAT should be the GOAL.

      Good schools help everyone.

    7. Robert, North Richla says:

      Bravo, little johnny! I'm glad Boehner put his wine glass down and decided to do some work. While the D.C. OSP is a worthwhile program (and a great slap at Obama), I don't know that it should be on little johnny's top ten list. We are paying $3.50 – $4.00 per gallon of ethanol-infused gasoline; our military is involved in Libya (worst use of troops/dollars since Somalia); 13.7 million are unemployed because our economy is shackled by burdensome hiring costs/taxes; excessive government spending on 94 million welfare recipients and 12 million unemployment bums is crippling our nation and 70,000 U.S. bridges are structurally deficient – just to name a few. Remember Eric Cantor? He was real tough sniping at Pelosi's heals – but now he's just another RINO.

    8. A. J. Siragusa says:

      This debate is another example of big government running amok. With all the major problems our country faces why are we debating an education issue for D.C. Let the parents of D.C., or any of the 50 states, for that matter, take up these issues on a local level. You will not convince me that a congressman from Utah cares one whit about the school system of D. C. and I might add I'm disappointed in the Heritage organization taking sides on this issue. Stick to the big picture……national issues, & not petty politics or politicians.

    9. Tony, Brick, NJ says:

      President Obama is against this program simply because it opens a bit of competition to his beloved public sector unions. It's amazing that he would oppose something that improves educational opportunity for the students of the DC school system.

      But I am not surprised. This is just another nod to the DC education unions and their effort to protect themselves at all costs. The students be damned!

      Tony Bunn

      Brick, NJ

    10. Judy Connelly, Ms. says:

      Whatever happened to Obama's slogan "Race to the top". He's great with speeches & all we get from him are words, slogans & no action. He needs to go back to Chicago.

    11. Steve Cafaro Fort My says:

      There is no question the kids in DC deserve an opportunity to break away from the squalor that surounds them. For that matter, all children in the USA deserve a similar opportunity especially given the current outlook for jobs.

      The fact that this is a DC initiative is a bit ironic. The very thought that our Nation's Capitol, the seat of power and the base for our ever observant political leaders, is incapable of providing a proper education speaks volumes about our inefficient and ineffective Government. God must save America because our political and business leaders obviiously are not up to the task!

    12. Bob Godwin, Jarretts says:

      Anthing that will ultimately undo the SEIC must be stopped by Obama and friends.

    13. Sue Marie Detroit says:

      When children are well educated they do not need community organizers telling them how to think or feel. I rather my tax dollors going into programs that benefit the poor, instead of keeping the poor poor. Obama and the democrats can retain their power only when they have an uneducated or under educated population.

      Thank You for reporting this. God Bless Speaker John Boehner for introducing this bill. I hope it get passed.

    14. Sue Marie Detroit says:

      I hope it passes.

    15. West Texan says:

      I'm surprised the Department of Indoctrination, AKA DOE, reported favorably on the OSP's results. All the best to DC's undeserved minds.

    16. toledofan says:

      No life lines today. These guys, the Democrats, can't allow this to haoppen because it dilutes the unions authority and clearly shows that what they are doing by pumping more money and bureaucracy into the public school system is actually a failure. No matter the logic or reason, the Democrats are hell bent on pushing their agenda no matter the circumstances to the country or the kids. The last two and half years have been a lesson in failure and clearly shows how not to do things, what not to do and how to do it in a wrong way. I guess we've seen, first hand, what the hope and change Obama was really talking about.

    17. Laurie - St. Louis, says:

      I know this is probably pointless, but has D.C. considered cleaning up their awful school system? Are these Scholarship opportunities only offered to D.C.? One has to wonder ,why, with our Legislative Branches located in D.C. the failing school system is allowed to continue? Seems to me that some of their overpaid salaries could go to boost the school system. I'd be embarrassed at the statistics quoted, but indstead of correcting the problems, they offer scholarships. Who foots that bill? I am all for children, lower income or not to succeed, but it seems to me this is not addressing the overall issue, just band-aiding it.

    18. Ohioan says:

      Any taxpayer position should not be unionized. Get rid of school unions and you'll have better teachers, better school hours, relevant classes, teacher cross-training…now the good teachers who enjoy kids and want to teach are limited by union rules and are painted with the same brush as the poor teachers.

    19. Jerri MacMillian, Es says:

      While the objective is laudable, where in the US Constitution is the authorization for laudable objectives in education? We have to realise that federal funding of one person's pet project opens the door to federal funding of every pet project. Let's get the government out of the compassion charity activities and allow for individual charity to pick up the responsibility for laudable objectives.

    20. Wayne Church says:

      I am sure this is not a new idea, but we need to make every decision that stops a successful program like this as public as possible. Use FaceBook, Twitter, FreedomTorch, etc. Write editorials for newspapers. This is taking on the NEA and the democrats in office but do not let democrat candidates slide on these seemingly inconsequential issues because it makes visible their world views.

    21. Cliff2008 Tampa Fl says:

      Anything moving minorities into a position of self reliance is at odds with the liberal aggenda of attaining a majority-vote dependent class. It's dishonest, lowdown & despicable. In Obama's case, it's being a traitor to his own race.

    22. B. Eric, Syosset N.Y says:

      I don't understand why the federal govt is in any way involved with education, except in DC. Education is a state issue. The constitution makes no mention of federal intrusion into education except with regard to discrimination. Therefore the DOE is not supported by the constitution and should be elliminated. As to the states, in no other employment other than teaching is there such a thing as tenure. I worked my entire career is corporate sales. I served at the p-leasure of my management. If I met my goals {quotas} I continued working. If I did not I was gone. Theere was no tenure. In Fact even the president has no tenure. This abuse should be terminated. Under the tenure system a teacher can not be let go for bad or even no performance. In no other industry would this be tollerated. Tenure should be abolished.

    23. Paul Stratman, Cold says:

      It's not about poverty! It's about inept administrators and ignorant parent(s). Stop throwing money at this situation unless it's properly entitled, "War on Ignorance" with the attacks starting at the top.

    24. Anne says:

      Our family lives in a nice neighborhood in CA. Our schools rank 47 in test scores, even though we are not in a poor neighborhood. Even if children are able to attend a more expensive school…..they will still be indoctrinated….they will still be taught revisionist history, moral relativism, and anti-free market philosophy. Mothers around their kitchen table are able to produce children who out perform the government school student in many ways. These children also have a better chance of keeping their faith, having moral convictions, and loving America. Poor families, middle class and wealthy families need to remove their children from the government schools and educate, mentor and train them at home. We do not need the government to educate our children and we do not need their money. Our family is on a budget, a one car family, and make many sacrifices in order to homeschool our children. Homeschooling is wonderful! Our family is very close, our children are happy, and our home is a peaceful refuge. Thanks for allowing me to post a comment. Blessings, Anne

    25. Dennis, San Diego says:

      I am strongly in favor of school choice. I am not so much in favor of subsidizing failing schools with scholarships. Cities, States and Schools with failing policies and the unwillingness to make changes, might best be served by letting them stew until they are changed from within. Sad to say, it is the children and our future that will suffer. However, moving is a viable option for many.

      Real change is not easy. There must be real motivation. Right now we must stop our deficit spending. It is the exceptions we conservatives make that prove the Progressive agenda.

    26. JACK TILL Santa Fe N says:

      Here in New Mexico we have a program-Educate New Mexico- privately funded by concerned donors, We provide scholarships to low income kids who are locked in poor performing schools.. For years we have tried to get the New Mexico legislature to grant donors a tax credit vs NM state tax for donors. Again a totally Democratic House and Sente continue to block these efforts. It is plain to see Demorats of all stripes bow to the Teachers Unions votes in lieu of what is good for our kids,

    27. Jeff DeMatteo, Leban says:

      I feel that a better solution would be to put pressure on the Obama Administration and the school systems to clean up their acts and turn the Public Schools into a safe haven of education, not take money out of those systems and use them somewhere else. The children who want to learn and the Tax Payers who make it all possible deserve better and it's time to make the Schools accountable. It's also time to eliminate Tenure and start firing bad Teachers and quit letting the disruptive and sometimes violent students dictate the environment of these schools. The fact that these failing statistics are accepted by anyone is a disgrace and need to be changed, not run away from.

    28. Tom Sullivan in FL says:

      Tinkering with government schools is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This hulk is going down, folks.

      Unions are doing to government schools (and government itself) what they did to autos, airlines, steel, railroads, shipping and many other industries. They are pricing themselves out of business by high wages and benefits, and insane, management-crippling work rules.

      The best answer for crappy government schools is $5,000 vouchers for every child. Set parents and children free from the degenerate socialist values of government schools.

      Why try to fine tune socialism? Destroy it as much as possible. Demand your freedom to choose the education you want for your children and your nation. Don't compromise.

    29. gary sheldon AZ says:

      I wish we could find out who , exactly, is propping up this community organizer party animal anti-American regime and what is the benefit or payoff for these endlessly destructive policies. Liberal and rino positions on issues seldom seem to promote American values or moral foundations. Socialist and communist philosophies seem rampant in the educational system throughout the public school system. Many teachers are doing their best to do an honorable job for the students they teach but there are enough like Ayers, Soetoro with a Durbin, Lee, Frank, Watters, Wright, Sharpton mindset to corrupt many impressionable young people. Remember that stupid "beer summit"? Professor Soetoro and his professor buddy maintain the same track to this day. Good is evil and evil is good.

    30. ThomNJ says:

      Hey, let's face it. Without ignorance, the dems wouldn't have their voting base now would they? Without educations, the resultant "graduates" can't get well-paying jobs or develop careers and then need the government. This way the government gets bigger and bigger with all the job openings administering all those entitlement programs. It is merely the Dems and RINOs keeping the same sorry system perpetuated. Why should any kid have a chance in America? (heavy sarc)

    31. Monica, Slatington P says:

      The only possible reason to kill these scholarships is to protect teachers' unions. Period.

    32. Joseph Arsenault Dre says:

      What would make anyone think that the Democrats, in positions of power, want to see an educated public. The idea is to make them (the public) think they're educated then (those in power) do what they wish to and nobody dares to ask questions for fear of looking "stupid or ignorant." AND it works great!!!

      Joe A

    33. Judith in Michigan says:

      Our President and Democrat members of Congress are prevented from approving the re-instatement of DC OSP for one simple reason. They are in the stranglehold of the all powerful public teachers' union. If any congressional member and any president refuses to "Pay to Play", the unions will withold millions in campaign contributions, smear and crush them. Improving children's lives is not a factor. Power and control is.

      Witness what is happening in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and now California. It will soon be coming to your own state, too.

      It appears the public unions want to be in control of the entire United States. Let's hope this disaster can be stopped before it happens.

    34. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Washington DC has to be in an alternate universe. How is it that their property values continue to rise while the rest of the nation declines and their school system is absymal. Can it be that the Department of Education is useless?

    35. Jim Buzzell says:

      I do not disagree, these kids need an opportunity that only can come from sources outside their environment; that said, where is private groups who fund these, and other programs?

      This needs to be outsourced to those groups, and federal government needs to extract us from funding every do good, and feel good project.

      I realize this is only a program for the DC kids; but, when the rubber meets the road private resources can do this job, and probably better.

    36. Inverbrass, Kansas says:

      The D.C. OSP is worth saving. The president and Members of Congress who oppose this are not only commiting an offense against parents, I find their actions offensive. These young men and women need to be afforded every opportunity; however, the program must continue to be monitored to be sure the government does not "screw it up" as they do must of the time with any project or mandate. Without this program and hopefully others like it to come, these children are much more likely to grow up and become president or Members of Congress. God forbid!

    37. Mike from Long Islan says:

      It seems to me, that President Obama is "a traitor to his own race" as ninety percent of the resident citizens of Washinton,DC are black. He has certainly not delt evenhandedly in all things political. He has shown that he is a "political animal of the highest degree" by supporting his political backers even at the expense of all the citizens of this great nation.

    38. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      To keep any American child worth of, and desiring a better and higher quality education is a moral, and motal sin. This is only done to placate the Union of inept educators who do not have the skills within them to offer what is needed to our Nation's children to rise above those others of the World and succeed above them in business and all enterprise, whatever that may be.

      To trap children in second and third class schools where education is rated in numbers and not grades and skills and actual thought processes, is to graduate, anger, ill will, and the hatred that has been passed from one generation down to another , to another, in this Republic of ours, and it lies within our Policians roles, the blame, and the cause.

    39. Daisysue says:

      Obama's hatred for anything that would be a positive for America goes all the way to the bone.

      He cries humanitarian reasons for any and everything he does for foreign countries, from giving millions of Tax Payers dollars to Iran, to starting a war in lybia

      He worries about illegals children not receiving a chance for a"bad ole American education", but will deny that same chance for DC's Inner City Kids, Whoa !! how low can he go?.

      He looked at positive proof the program works, but but refused to OK it. WHY ? Can't guess, well let me tell you. because he does not want America or an America Child to receive even ONE good thing from his hand.

      He will bend over backwards or forward, bowing/kissing for anyone or any country except America. AND THIS IS THE PERSON MANY PEOPLE STILL WANT AS THE POTUS.???????? NOW THAT I HAVE NO ANSWER FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!

    40. Demetri, Illinois says:

      What if we allowed parents to take those dollars to the public school of their choice? Or what if they could use the funds in their own impoverished schools to implement programs proven to work by research independent of any conflict of interest created by the the bias of a self-professed conservative think tank like the Heritage Foundation? How significantly do you think those students' performance would improve? My children attended the IB program in an impoverished public high school in one of the lowest ranking states in the nation in terms of performance and public education funding. They both got hefty scholarships to prestigious out of state universities, and while almost all of their freshman peers who attended private high schools were freaking out about the dramatic increase in workload and level of difficulty, they breezed through with 4.0 averages, and when I asked them which was harder, their senior year of high school, or their freshman year of college, they both said, 'Senior year of high school."

    41. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      I went to Parochial school in grade school and first year high school, my children attended Parochail grade school as well, the reason I wanted them taught how to think and how to comprehend what they read. Schools were controlled by the states at that time, the problem now is that the schools are now more concerned about the test scores than what the student is learning. I asked a 5th grader today if she knew what happened in Salem, Mass., she said she wasn't sure, she has never heard of the House of Seven Gables and knows very little about life in Plymouth. We need to get the Feds out of education, let the teachers TEACH and if a hild cannot pass the exams at 1/2 term and term, either he goes to summer school or repeats. It's not fair that HS grads are in college taking HS subjects. Lets put schools back in the States hands and make sure our kids are educated the correct way.

    42. Jill-Maine says:

      This is just more proof that the Democrap party has never improved the lives of the very people it says it is there to defend. All dems want is power and control. It behooves them to keep people oppressed and believing the lie that the dems are the party of the people. they aren't. they are the party of big government.

    43. Jim Delaney says:

      What a priceless and infuriating example of the left's shameless hypocrisy!!

      If the GOP doesn't latch onto this issue and start screaming loudly and unremittingly about the left's naked hypocrisy on this issue alone, the GOP deserves to lose the next election and every election thereafter.

      This is truly an "education moment" for the GOP and the voters. Hitting the electorate between the eyes with the left's duplicity on this issue can do much to fiinally put to bed the left's ideologically-driven big lie that they care about the education of the poor and disadvantaged. What a montrous lie. But, what a wonderful political opportunity for the GOP as well.

    44. Lee-White Tanks AZ says:

      This program is precisely the type of grassroots program that will begin the process of taking our schools back from wildly out of control Teachers Unions and from the horribly corrupt and greedy big city political machines.

      The unions and the politicians have been aided and abetted by the mindless meanderings of the US Department of Education. This wart on the backside of real educational reform seems to be made up not only union and corruption enablers but but active participants in turning our school systems into a collectivist and politically correct quagmire incapable of teaching our children such things as the three "R"s.

      I am very glad to see The Heritage Foundation joining in this fray. There is no other as worthy as the fixing the corruptive influence of an educational system gone bad.

    45. Mimi - Charlotte says:

      Obama's view is unreasonable… therefore, let's just skip over reason and go to motive… Why would Obama not want these students in a system that has proven to be superior to the public schools in DC?

      He can't control the indoctrination unless they're in a public system. He's looking to grow future progressives, which is much easier if you get them early. He's got his czar positioned in public education to influence the early years and Van Jones is going after the college students.

      I'm not inclined to be a conspiracy theorist, but this is a no brainer.

    46. Lee-White Tanks AZ says:

      This program is precisely the type of grassroots program that will begin the process of taking our schools back from wildly out of control Teachers Unions and from the horribly corrupt and greedy big city political machines.

      The unions and the politicians have been aided and abetted by the mindless meanderings of the US Department of Education. This wart on the backside of real educational reform seems to be made up of not only union and corruption enablers but by active participants in turning our school systems into a collectivist and politically correct quagmire incapable of teaching our children such things as the three "R"s.

      I am very glad to see The Heritage Foundation joining in this fray. There is no other as worthy as fixing the corruptive influence of an educational system gone bad.

    47. C.H. says:

      Tell me what it would take to make the DC area schools the best. Don't you think it is a shame and shouldn't the government be embarassd of this situation, that is part of their neighborhood?

    48. Jon chase says:

      If you are using tax payer money, why is this program only in D.C. Maybe the department of education should be abolished and control returned back to the states.


      Congress is supposed to be assisting our students with real bills, such these vouchers.Instead they block or hinder passage of a good bill. It is all our responsibility to make sure all the United States children get the best education possible. Who ever blocks,hinders,or does not vote yes to pass this bill will be put on notice. You won't support our children, then you do not need to be elected again. I will only vote for a person who has the interest of tje United States and her citizens FIRST. And I will sure share this with all my family and friends. This Grandma is learnig about Blogging, its come at a good time.


    50. Ron W. Smith, Provid says:

      I'm all for the lifeline as long as education K-12 remains WHOLLY taxpayer subsidized. There's nothing magic in a system of public schools, just as there's nothing magic in private schools. Any goals, educational outcomes, curriculum standardization, classroom size issues, teacher training and total remuneration/benefits packages, facilities and equipment quality, and parental involvement can be made satisfactory whether schools are public or private.

      Are the scholarships FULL ride or are there additional costs to be borne by parents? Since property taxes play a large role in the funding of public education, scholarships should be no less effective for full funding of education, otherwise less advantaged people will be saddled with costs they might not be able to handle, their children punished for being the offspring of the "wrong" parents.

      A nation serious about educating its young (and old, for that matter) is serious about assuring that opportunity is open and equal to all.

    51. Lois Yungton, Bloomf says:

      Certainly this is a shame for Washington DC to prevent thse

      children from getting a proper education. What do we do about

      the rest of the children in the US who are in similar situations.

      Does the city of Washington DC have any resources or ability

      to help these children.

    52. Old Colonel says:

      Where precisely does the U.S. Constitution delegate to the Federal government the authority to legislate on, regulate, fund, and oversee public or private education? James Madison stated in Federalist 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are FEW AND DEFINED. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are NUMEROUS AND INDEFINITE." If that authority was not delegated to Congress in Article I, Section 8, it would have had to have been added later as an Amendment, but it was not added, so the Federal government has no such authority, and any actions it takes in that regard are outright unconstitutional. Congress cannot simply pass legislation granting itself authority that the Constitution does not delegate to it.

      Before the Feds decide to claim it is hidden somewhere in the "General Welfare" clause, let me point out what James Madison had to say about the "General Welfare" clause: "If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in

      every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; THEY MAY TAKE INTO THEIR OWN HANDS THE EDUCATION OF THE CHILDREN, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America."

      In forming the central government and creating the Constitution under which it is intended to operate, the States and the People obviously never intended to delegate that type of authority over the education of our children to the Federal government; therefore, it is necessary that We The People and our States now unambiguously remove this authority which the Federal government has, over time, stolen from us.

    53. Geppetto, NC says:

      The Republican leadership should be using this like a sledge hammer against Obama and his Democratic minions who claim to be the party of the people and especially "the children" and get away with it because they are never confronted and forced to admit or at least reveal their blatant, politically motivated hypocrisy. Constantly giving the Dems a pass on all that they do VS all that they proclaim has much to do with why they still enjoy considerable popularity in the polls. That and the fact that they suffer no compunction when it comes to Republicans and will spread lies and distortions of the facts with relative impunity largely because the Republicans let them get away with it, either to scared or high minded and reluctant to sink to depths that Democrats have no problem wallowing happily in. When in an existential battle with gutter rats it is necessary, if not desirable, to get down in the gutter and face them on their own turf.

    54. Don Vander Jagt, Gra says:


      This could be a win-win effort by Republicans, I retired from the public school system believe me it is bankrupt in the area of real education.

      The Republicans need to take this one step further; they need to propose and pass a law that would take most of the Federal money going into K.-12, including the money being used to run the Department of Education.

      Then make that money available to any State that will lower the State collected tax for education by the amount of the Education Voucher +20%. Any State should be given the opportunity to opt in or opt out.

      The amount of the voucher should be the total amount of money in the program divided by the total number of legal schoolchildren in the Nation.

      The Education Voucher should be made available for basic academics only by law.

      If a parochial school wants to be part of the program they would need to fallow the same principle.

      Any local school system wanting to teach religion, have sports, or any other program besides basic education would need to raise the money through a millageage for that program locally.

      The money now going into Headstart (I witnessed its failure) should go as a tax deduction to parents with children K-12 who are enrolled in a School system.

    55. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Demetri – your comments and experience are the same as mine – you get out of it what you put in to it. My guess is that you are an involved parent guiding your kids through the tough choices which face us all. No amount of government spending will effect this effort. The problem with Detroit and other similar school systems is that most parents are looking for hand-outs and the few really motivated kids are trapped in the system. Some how the trapped parents need an escape clause to get their kids into a worthwhile environment. The non-motivated students and parents need to be cut off from the hand-outs otherwise there is little incentive to improve. But this requires self reliance and is not consistent with democrats thinking.

    56. Lee-White Tanks AZ says:

      I think the missing ingredient of much of the commentary here is the role of the Unions, specifically the SEIU, NEA etal.

      Every Voucher, every Home School and every Scholarship (the subject of this article) is viewed as an attack on the Unions. It is seen as a loss of Power for the Union leadership.

      Given the unholy alliance of Big Government, Big Business, and Big Labor the howls from Wisconsin and the loss of this program in WDC can be seen to have common roots.

      The latest entry into this brouhaha is the State of Ohio. BTW watch Arizona.

      This is developing into a donnybrook of grand proportions. Your tickets are no further away than here, Fox News, Rush, Sean etal.

    57. Demetri, Illinois says:

      Old Colonel, we're discussing Washington, DC, which is not a state, and for which congress does have governing authority. Please tell me you know this, for I fear you may otherwise end up on an embarrassing segment of the Jay Leno show.

    58. Frank, Florida says:

      "WHY does the HF and GOP want to END PUBLIC EDUCATION?

      All schools should be improved.

      THAT should be the GOAL"

      …and the best way to improve public education is to give parents a choice of which school to send their child to. That will introduce competition into the education process and force a change for the better. If a nearby public school is as good or better than a more distant school, parents will gladly send their kids to the nearby public school. However, it has been my experience that private schools are able to educate local kids better on less than half the money the local public schools get per child. The reasons for this are multiple, but competition between the private schools & no teachers unions (that I'm aware of) in these private schools are big reasons for better education in private schools. I also think it's unfair to tax people once for education & then make them pay again if they chose to send their kids to someplace other than a public school. Give parents a choice.

    59. edwin, kansas city says:

      What is so special about kids from low income families? What about kids from families just above the low income level and others trapped in the public school system. Every child should have the option to attend the school of their families` choice, regardless of income standing, with the financial support following them. That is the only way our standard of education will be raised.

    60. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Teachers' unions indoctrinate. They don't educate. Look at Wisconsin.

    61. Clearhead says:

      Missed the point AGAIN Jarvis? Here's a clue for you — read the article before you "comment".

    62. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      At one time there were families dying to get their kids in D.C. Public schools, if you worked for the Gov't. prior to 1948, your kids could attend D.C. schools, they were among the best in the country. Gov't parents in both virginia and Maryland sent their kids to D.C. schools. I find it sad that handwriting is not taught, reading is skipped over, they read words but do not comprehend what the read, it's all about the test scores not about what THEY LEARNED.

    63. Harry Snyder Tempera says:

      I have to agree that Obama is paying off his debt to the unions every day.And his repudiation of the D.C. OSP is, to me, one more bit of evidence that he wants/intends to bring down our nation to a 3rd or worse class status before January 2013. He doesn't expect to have a second term, and must get it done before then.

      Almost everything he does seems to be to that end. Bowing down to foreign leaders who don't like us, shutting down 30% of out oil production, putting radicals, including Marxists into important positions, dithering two months before making important decisions about Afghanistan, spending almost one trillion on "Stimulus" projects protecting public sector jobs, giving $2 billion to Brazil for oil production and stopping production in the U.S…..I only hope and pray that we can dig ourselves out the holes O digs for us after he and his adviser/handlers are gone away.

    64. John, Naples Florida says:

      This was an excellent article, but shamefully lacking in providing a reason fir the Democrat objection to the program! The reason, once again, is union objection to school vouchers and Democrat desire for union donations to the Democrat party.

    65. CDeanni/ New Jersey says:

      There has been a plan since the sixties, when the radicals became the educators of our children. There plan was to either re-educate them or un-educate them. Re-educate in to believing there beliefs and give them the power to take over our nation. The Un-educate to keep them poor so they have to depend on these people for there needs and will keep them in power, so they keep getting the handout. Why do you think our educators have so much power over our schools and parents don't?

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    67. Mike, Chicago says:

      This is one instance where I disagree with HF. Unless all kids can do it, it is discriminatory and mostly helps minorities.

    68. Sam, Calif says:

      The opposition from the Democrats to not support the Opportunity Scholarship Program is in my opinion a great opportunity for the Republicans to show the American people the hypocrisy taking place here. This is one of those simple illustrations of "do the Democrats really care for you and your children's best interest".

      You see I believe that the dems have won the hearts and minds of millions of Americans by coming across as if they are for the poor, weak and your hard working class. And they do this by keeping the subject simple and heart warming, for example: Obama and the rest of the Dems says they want every child to have an opportunity to a good education, every American to have healthcare, and Jobs for every working citizen! Never mind how it's going to be done, that's for us politicians to figure out. Millions of Americans believe it and leave it at that. I sorry and I know this is not how we should treat our fellow Americans as if they were ignorant fools. Put I say to you, it works, and of course it help when you have a cooperating media to get your message out and endorse it. Many Americans don't take the time to research what the Government is doing; so the simpler you keep the subject the easier it is for many people to follow along.

      Republicans on the other hand are most of the time too complicated, look at how we come across to your everyday kind of person who really doesn't follow the issues at hand, issues like Economics, (Dems say Jobs for everyone) Healthcare reform (Dems say affordable Healthcare for everyone), Foreign policy (Dems say we shall not intervene in other nations civil wars), Corporate Tax reform (Tax breaks for the rich), out of control spending (needed programs for the poor). Complicated stuff I tell you, and as much as I believe that every American should know the truth, right now we are at war for the minds and heart of the American people. Am I saying not to address these issues? Absolutely not, they need to be addressed. But when you are given a golden opportunities to show that what your doing is for the good of all and the issue is simple one that everyone can relate too, we need to run with it for those uninformed people. How much more heart warming can you get but to be on the side of the children? And show how the results are there to prove the success of this program called Opportunity Scholarship Program. Get photos of children who Graduated with their diplomas, what ever it takes to start winning. I do believe that as conservatives we have come along ways and in general we as conservative do take the time to inform ourselves in the issue that are important. Please understand that though my opinion may be every simplistic, that is the point, "Keep it Simple Stupid" I'm not trying to insult anyone, just making a point.

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    71. Larry, Milwaukee Wis says:

      This is a very nice artical but it really does nothing to adress the real problem of parents getting involved with their children and helping them with their education. Home work etc. Lots of times the parents have had such a low level of education they can't help the children. Multiple fathers in one family with no family structure at all. Aunts taking care of the children while the mothers are out making another child some where else. We suffer from the same problem in Milwaukee. over 90 % of the familys in our very depressed areas have multiple fatherless homes . Its not the schools , its the homes. Kids sometimes never get to class because the lazy parents never got up in time to get them out the door , much less have food on the table for a breakfast. Our Milwaukee system has to feed breakfast to kids. What does that tell you. Its not the schools, its the parents and homes. You won't fix that, it is their way of irresponsible living. Children haveing children. The whole thing is a real mess.

    72. Hugh Pecon Phoenix A says:

      Our Founding Fathers understood history and the Laws of nature

      Our founders were not geniuses. They just understood history and the laws of nature and natures god. These two facts of life were the basis reasons for their new worlds success. They must be looking down upon us and wondering just how we fell so far from those most basic principles.

      They understood the lessens of Jamestown. By Christmas of 1607 in that first American colony more than 65% of the people were dead. The next year more people came and half of them died. They were literally starved to death. The people were so desperate that they had to eat their cows, horses, and even their dogs. Some even boiled the leather from their shoes to chew on. Its been estimated that of the first 9,000 people who came to the new world only 1,000 survived.

      There were two main reasons

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