The $7,500 scholarships are the best thing that’s happened for District of Columbia students in the past decade — and one of the best investments Congress has made in education reform. Demand for the scholarships is so high that there are four applicants for each voucher, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The scholarship program has the support of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who is trying to reform city’s notorious public school system, plagued by years of poor performance.
Not only is the program giving poor families hope for the future, it’s also a good value. As Andrew J. Coulson of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom, explains in today’s New York Post:
The vouchers are worth an average of $6,000; last year, the District was spending $24,600 per student. If you could save 75 percent on a purchase, get the same or better quality of service, and know you’d be happier with the result, wouldn’t you do it? … It seems congressional Democrats would not.
For a party that claims to look out for the little guy, this is a clear sign that well-funded teachers’ unions (a major source of Democrat campaign cash) are really running the show. Putting this provision in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill without a single congressional hearing and no debate is an outrage.
The 1,800 students who participate in the program deserve the same educational opportunities as Sasha and Malia. How their father reacts will indicate if he’s going to kowtow to union politics or fulfill his promise to “open doors of opportunity for our children.”
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