Monday, April 16, 2012

Editorial Boards say "YES" to D.C. Scholarship Program

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and the controversy of President Obama zeroing out funding for the program in his FY2013 budget has sparked strong support for the program.  Supporters on the hill sent a flurry of letters to the White House and U.S. Department of Education, and now a series of editorials are supporting school choice in the District.

Here’s what is being said everywhere from The Washington Post to The Wall Street Journal:

The Washington Post
April 10, 2012

The administration’s action — which includes a bizarre provision prohibiting students who are unsuccessful in the lottery that allocates spaces in the program from reapplying the following year — would effectively place an arbitrary limit on the number of children able to enjoy the program’s benefits. Why cap the number at the 1,615 students currently enrolled when the program has accommodated larger numbers (1,903 in 2007-08, for example)? Does the administration really want to send the message — much like the one delivered in 2009 when Democrats tried to kill the vouchers — that there is not much of a future for the program?

Surely, it shouldn’t be among the president’s priorities to single out for attack a tiny federal program that not only works — in the judgment of federal evaluators — but also enjoys bipartisan support. If it is, we trust that Mr. Boehner would step in, as he did last year, to save a program that D.C.’s poorest families value for their children.

Why is Mayor Gray jeopardizing aid for school choice in the District?

The Washington Post

April 13, 2012

Here, in the District, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of providing quality educational options, through innovative charter schools and our highly successful, federally funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, through which more than 1,600 low-income children attend quality private schools. But all of that is being threatened by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).

The release of Mr. Gray’s 2013 budget proposal makes clear that parental choice is no longer a priority of his administration. In the proposal, he breaches a promise made to charter school supporters by not closing the funding disparity between charter schools and traditional D.C. public schools.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Mr. Gray’s proposal also zeroes out the funding for the scholarship program — matching what President Obama did in his budget…

As the chief executive of the city, it’s Mr. Gray’s job to do what’s best for the city, regardless of what the president proposes. Why would he jeopardize funds from the federal government that raise all boats?

We strongly urge the mayor to remember what is important. It is not where a child is educated, it is about ensuring that every child has equal access to a high-quality education. That’s the power of parental choice and the reason that the District has been a model for providing these options to parents.


Obama Versus the Kids (DC)

The Wall Street Journal
April 13, 2012

You can count on two hands the number of federal programs that President Obama wants to eliminate, and one of them is the Washington, D.C., school voucher program for low-income families. The Opportunity Scholarship Program, as it is called, allows thousands of minority D.C. children to attend private schools, and it enjoys high satisfaction ratings from the parents.

So why kill the vouchers? Because the teachers unions, a major political ally of Democrats, see school choice as a threat.

[T]his is an administration that puts the interests of the unions ahead of everyone. Even kids.

 - American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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