Tuesday, July 08, 2008

More voucher opinion

This time from Department of Education head Margaret Spellings.
Better schools. Higher scores. And satisfied parents. That's the record of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. It is helping us keep our promise to leave no child behind in America. If Congress is thinking of breaking this promise, the nation deserves to know the story.

Signed into law by President Bush four years ago, the program is the first to provide federally funded education vouchers to students. It awards up to $7,500 per child for tuition, transportation and fees; in 2007-08 it enabled 1,900 students from the underperforming Washington public school system -- the highest total yet -- to attend the private or religious schools of their choice.

For many, this was their first opportunity to receive a high-quality education. "They not only educate them, but they are teaching them to be young men and young women as well," Sheila Jackson, the mother of a 12-year-old scholarship recipient, told a reporter.

An independent study of the program released last year confirms this parental satisfaction. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) found that parents of scholarship children express confidence that they will be better educated and even safer in their new schools. A study by Georgetown University found increased parental involvement and student enthusiasm for learning.

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