kitchen table math, the sequel: compare and contrast, part 2

Sunday, March 1, 2009

compare and contrast, part 2

Signed by President Bush in 2004, the program gives around 1,900 students from low-income [D.C.] families up to $7,500 to attend private schools of their choice. The five-year pilot program is up for renewal next year, but Ms. Rhee doesn't see school choice as a threat to her mission in the public schools. She shakes her head. "I would never, as long as I am in this role, do anything to limit another parent's ability to make a choice for their child. Ever."

Schoolhouse Rock
Saturday, December 22, 2007 12:01 A.M. EST

In February 2008, the [Massachusetts] board... became the first to reject a charter school recommended for approval by the commissioner of education.


During the board’s debate over the proposed charter school, Patrick appointee and board PTA representative Ruth Kaplan commented that charter schools are too focused on sending students to college, saying “families…don’t always know what’s best for their children.”

Accountability Overboard
By Charles D. Chieppo and James T. Gass
Education Next Spring 2009 (vol. 9, no. 2)


Allison said...

That's Okay. Rhee might never want that, but Congress has already decided what's best for parents in DC!

Voucher Subterfuge
Hoping no one notices, congressional Democrats step between 1,800 D.C. children and a good education.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009; A18

CONGRESSIONAL Democrats want to mandate that the District's unique school voucher program be reauthorized before more federal money can be allocated for it. It is a seemingly innocuous requirement. In truth it is an ill-disguised bid to kill a program that gives some poor parents a choice regarding where their children go to school. Many of the Democrats have never liked vouchers, and it seems they won't let fairness or the interests of low-income, minority children stand in the way of their politics. But it also seems they're too ashamed -- and with good reason -- to admit to what they're doing.

At issue is a provision in the 2009 omnibus spending bill making its way through Congress. The $410 billion package provides funds for the 2009-10 school year to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a pioneering effort that awards scholarships of up to $7,500 a year for low-income students to attend private schools. But language inserted by Democrats into the bill stipulates that any future appropriations will require the reauthorization of the program by Congress and approval from the D.C. Council.

We have no problem with Congress taking a careful look at this initiative and weighing its benefits. After all, it was approved in 2004 as a pilot program, subject to study. In fact, this is the rare experimental program that has been carefully designed to produce comparative results. But the proposed Democratic provision would short-circuit this study. Results are not due until June, and an additional year of testing is planned. Operators of the program need to accept applications this fall for the 2010-11 school year, and reauthorizations are complicated, time-consuming affairs. Indeed, staff members on various House and Senate committees scoffed yesterday when we asked about the chances of getting such a program reauthorized in less than a year. Legislation seeking reauthorization has not even been introduced.

If the Democratic leadership is so worried about process, it might want to review a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office listing the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been appropriated to programs whose authorizations have expired. Many of these programs get far more than the $14 million allocated to the Opportunity Scholarships. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) was right to call out the Democrats for this back-door attempt to kill the voucher program. The attention should embarrass congressional Democrats into doing the right thing. If not, city leaders, including D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), need to let President Obama know that some 1,800 poor children are likely to have their educations disrupted.

Allison said...

even better, Press Sec Gibbs himself :

QUESTION: On education, there's a provision in the omnibus spending bill that would sunset the D.C. voucher plan. And I'm wondering -- there's been a lot of publicity about this brother and sister pair at Sidwell who use their voucher money to -- to pay for tuition at the same school the president chose to send his children. I'm wondering if you could restate the president's opposition to the D.C. voucher plan and why he's...
GIBBS: Yes, I -- I would -- let me go -- I've not read the article today, if there was one. I think the...
QUESTION: Well, it's just about two kids who use their voucher money to go to Sidwell. I mean...
GIBBS: Right. I mean, I think -- right.
QUESTION: I mean -- I mean, and they would -- in other words, if they cut the voucher program, they couldn't go there.
GIBBS: Why are you even providing me the opportunity to be the middleman? I mean, again...
QUESTION: Well, could you just restate the president's position?
GIBBS: Well, I think the president has concerns about -- concerns about taking large amounts of funding out of the system to -- to address this, that the president obviously believes -- and I think you'll hear him talk about and has talked about -- the need for reform in our educational system, but -- but has not agreed with the program in the past. I'll see if there's anything to update on that.

Crimson Wife said...

That's the first time I've heard a school's focus on preparing students for college being treated as a *BAD* thing!