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Democrats Want to Kill DC School Choice

The Washington Post has an editorial today in which they take Democrats to task for working to kill the school voucher program that allows poor DC children to attend private schools, including Sidwell Friends, the same elite school that Malia and Sasha attend.

Last week, the Democrat-controlled House passed a spending bill that spells the end, after the 2009-10 school year, of the federally funded program that enables poor students to attend private schools with scholarships of up to $7,500. A statement signed by Mr. Obey as Appropriations Committee chairman that accompanied the $410 billion spending package directs D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee to "promptly take steps to minimize potential disruption and ensure smooth transition" for students forced back into the public schools.

We would like Mr. Obey and his colleagues to talk about possible "disruption" with Deborah Parker, mother of two children who attend Sidwell Friends School because of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. "The mere thought of returning to public school frightens me," Ms. Parker told us as she related the opportunities -- such as a trip to China for her son -- made possible by the program. Tell her, as critics claim, that vouchers don't work, and she'll list her children's improved test scores, feeling of safety and improved motivation.

But the debate unfolding on Capitol Hill isn't about facts. It's about politics and the stranglehold the teachers unions have on the Democratic Party. Why else has so much time and effort gone into trying to kill off what, in the grand scheme of government spending, is a tiny program? Why wouldn't Congress want to get the results of a carefully calibrated scientific study before pulling the plug on a program that has proved to be enormously popular? Could the real fear be that school vouchers might actually be shown to be effective in leveling the academic playing field?

Sidwell Friends School is not large. This year just over 1,000 students are enrolled in grades Pre-K-12, so the kids at the school are going to notice that suddenly one day the Parker children are no longer in their classes. How will the teachers explain these kids' absences? How will President Obama explain to his daughters that they get to go to an elite private school that believes they deserve "a rich and rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum designed to stimulate creative inquiry, intellectual achievement and independent thinking in a world increasingly without borders," while the Parker children are forced back into a school system known only for corruption and failure? Whatever it is, I'm sure it won't be the truth, which is that the Democrats owe their allegiance to the National Education Association and not the children in DC.


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Comments (14)

Choice and an assault on ig... (Below threshold)

Choice and an assault on ignorance simply don't work well with liberalism/socialism. They are mutually exclusive.

Continuing its policies of ... (Below threshold)

Continuing its policies of hypocrisy from the Dem party and it's leader: 'It's OK for me, but not for you ' says Pres Obama, following Michelle's philosophy of throwing the poor and underprivleged into inferior and overburdened public institutions, rather than 'elite' organizations (like she did with University of Chicago Hospitals).

Obama will tell his kids th... (Below threshold)

Obama will tell his kids that its change we can believe in!

Well, if you are the party ... (Below threshold)

Well, if you are the party of the poor and disenfranchised you had better make sure you have a constituency which is poor and disenfranchised. I think the Dems are slowly painting themselves into a corner.

Slowly, DaveD? Thi... (Below threshold)

Slowly, DaveD?

This isn't really a surprise. After all, 'fairness' is the operative word, and what's 'fair' about putting children into an academic environment they're obviously (because their parents aren't the 'right kind of people' - IE rich and well connected) not equipped to benefit from?

It wouldn't do to have the proles start thinking they're capable of learning the same things that the elite are, after all.

Poor students? A $7,500 sc... (Below threshold)

Poor students? A $7,500 scholarship would still leave you about $22,000 short of a years tuition at Sidwell.

If by not being able to afford 30 grand a year for elementary school, I would say there are a LOT of poor people out there.

$7500 would help a lot with... (Below threshold)

$7500 would help a lot with the little guy's schooling. When you're zoned for a bottom 30% school in the 49th ranked state, what are you supposed to do? We looked around at various private schools - ended up going with a religious school that had really good test scores in science, math, and English. It costs - but he's worth the sacrifice.

Not surprising. Gotta keep... (Below threshold)

Not surprising. Gotta keep them ghetto kids in inferior public schools so they'll stay stupid. Next thing ya know, they get an education and start acting uppity and doing stupid things like asking the wrong kinds of questions of their political masters. Can't be having none of that crap. Couple that with the ability to get a higher paying job, they'll start asking questions about why their taxes are so high. Talk about being un-American and un-patriotic!

Returning the Parker kids t... (Below threshold)

Returning the Parker kids to public schools will result in a higher chance of visiting an ER than China.

Boy, don't those liberals just care so much. Heartwarming I tell ya.

Picture this cartoon: The ... (Below threshold)
Mike Wright:

Picture this cartoon: The President's daughters standing astride the door way of their school: behind them an imposing member of the NEA wearing his Obama button. Before them are poor children who are being stopped because the NEA hates vouchers. The eldest daughter comments, "Sorry you can't attend anymore. Our Dad's bosses don't like competition."
The compassion of the Liberal, revealed.

The Democrats are also beho... (Below threshold)

The Democrats are also beholding to unplanned parenthood? So why are the free vouchers (taxpayer funds) not being proposed to be killed by these selfsame liberals?

Nothing like ethnic cleansing of the poor to help rich libs sleep at night I guess.

Pick up your shovles and it... (Below threshold)

Pick up your shovles and its time to scoop all that poop from the demacrats and to think some hollywood ding-bat said she looked up DEMACRAT in the dicionary and said ITS BY THE PEOPLE TO THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE showing hollyweed is still full of a bunch of mindless blabbering idiots

Heritage Foundation did a g... (Below threshold)

Heritage Foundation did a great video highlighting this program's detrimental impact upon the DC School system and the children serviced by it:


The last thing the democrap... (Below threshold)

The last thing the democraps want in their constituency is smart people. For them...dumber is better...just look at acorn...






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