Friday, June 1, 2012

A Letter to the Editor: Our Response to (and in) the New York Times

We told you last week about the poorly-reported front page story in the New York Times about scholarship tax credit programs, and many organizations throughout the movement have responded over the last week and a half to make clear that on the whole, scholarship tax credit programs are a lifeline to children from low-income families in desperate need of a better education.

You've heard our senior adviser, Kevin P. Chavous, talk frequently about that reality. And while he spoke to Stephanie Saul, the Times reporter who authored the piece in question, Chavous' quotes didn't make it into the final story.

We've spent the past week and a half demanding that the Times let us tell our side of the story, and finally, a letter to the editor Kevin wrote the day the story dropped has made it into the paper.

Click here to read Kevin's response, or view it after the jump.

Re “Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools” (front page, May 22): The negative characterizations made about the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program do not represent the entirety — or even a portion — of the thousands of scholarship-granting organizations, schools and administrators either across the state or nationally. 
The most rigorous studies of the program in Florida — conducted by David Figlio, who is quoted in the article — show increased academic achievement for students who were struggling most in the public schools. Except for a few isolated examples taken to represent the whole in your article, scholarship tax credit programs across the country have strong accountability measures and a proven track record of improving student outcomes and saving states money. 
The overwhelming majority of these programs benefit children from low-income neighborhoods and children with special needs. 
While there may certainly be some people who complain about these programs, the vast majority of children are thriving as a result of school choice, having gained access to educational opportunities that otherwise would have been out of their parents’ financial reach. To ignore the overwhelming success of these programs is to jeopardize their future, and with them, the futures of thousands of children from low-income families who are finally getting the shot at a quality education that they deserve 
Washington, May 22, 2012 
The writer is a senior adviser to the American Federation for Children and a former member of the D.C. City Council.
- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MAG 

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