Sunday, March 01, 2009

Congress will most likely kill DC's voucher program

It looks like Rep. Holmes-Norton's wish will soon come true. It looks like the Democratic controlled congress is not going to reauthorize the District's voucher program.
The D.C. voucher program — the first to provide federally funded vouchers to students — was launched as a five-year pilot program through the 2004 omnibus appropriations law (PL 108-199). The language was only included after a bitter fight over the proposed program in the Senate.

Alexa Marrero, a spokeswoman for Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, the ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, said reauthorization of the program was highly unlikely.

“I think school choice opponents have chosen to put an end to this program,” Marrero said. “This is a lifeline, and it’s being taken away.”

Most Democrats, meanwhile, have long opposed voucher programs, arguing that vouchers steer funding away from the public schools.

“Sen. Kennedy strongly opposed the creation of the program, which takes funds from very needy public schools to send students to unaccountable private schools,” said Melissa Wagoner, a spokeswoman for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy , D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

More than 1,715 students with an average annual family income of $22,736 take advantage of the program, according to the Washington Scholarship Fund, which administers the program. Under the D.C. voucher system, students can each receive up to $7,500 for tuition.

Some voucher recipients appear in a video that is an "Open Letter" asking President Obama to help save the program.

Reaction at NRO and the Weekly Standard.


Anonymous said...

The Opportunity Scholarship Program is part of a three-pathway education package that includes additional money for DCPS as well as public charter schools in the District.

If you support educational opportunities, including continuation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, please sign the petition at

Ed Researcher said...

Spare us the sob stories. Public money to subsidize unregulated country-club and religious private schools was always a boondoggle. These families that feel they are entitled to go to Sidwell should have a look at the many charter schools that are public, regulated, and in many cases, very high quality. Choose your school and then participate in it to improve it, don't whine about how Sidwell is the only school in the world for you and you must have the government pay for it.

Congress tying voucher money to DCPS and charter school funding is a bribe. I am ashamed for DC that the Mayor took that bribe. We can fund our public schools the honest way, thank you very much.

Verizon said...

Hi Ed Researcher, you know what is best, right? These parents are ignorant, obviously. They just don't know what is good for them! Thankfully, there are wise people like you out there willing to limit their choices and select the best solution for them. Very brave of you.

I'm sure you must know, as any parent with children at a public school does, how easy it is to get teachers and the school administration to respond to criticisms. Especially when you are talking about single black mothers working two jobs - they have so much free time to get involved and reform their children's terribly performing schools. These lazy women are practically housewives!

My my, Republicans are so ignorant. Obama knows, you simply can't let every poor person go around and have same choices that the rich have - next thing you know, poor people would graduate from these private schools, get scholarships to ivy league universities, and get nominated to be supreme court justice like Clarence Thomas or Sotomayor. Everything would be Topsy turvy!

Jonathan said...

The Demowits only support programs that don't work. Heaven forbid we bring a few African Americans out of the hood.

A few more tid bits of info. I found out after reading this story. The voucher program provided parents with a $7,500 tax credit to send their children to their choice of private schools. Guess how much money DC spends on each child per year? 13k, which makes perfect since because anytime you involve the government you need to add a minimum of 30% for waste, and a bunch of lazy bureaucrats. So, lets do some quick math. The DC schools spent nothing on this program because it was sponsored by the Feds, it cost the Fed. around 15 mil. Now, since the program won't be moving forward it looks like the DC schools are going to have to come up with an extra 25 mil., now we are making since from a Demowit perspective. Let us delete a program that is successful and changing the lives of many minorities living in poverty, and poor more money in a system that has been established not to work for over 60 years. Now your talking Demowit.

Now, let's talk about Jesus (Obama). I challenge the Obama's to enroll their daughters into DC's finest public schoosl. He is forcing over 1,900 children to go back to the fine public schools of DC. Are they not good enough for the Obama children? I mean, Obama seems like the type of leader that would lead by example, right. I put it you President Bull Shitter, you should let your daughters follow the same dream your enslaving upon these 1900 poor minorities children you claim to care so much about