My latest column at AIP is up. Today I discuss the DC voucher system that President Obama and the Democrats have killed.Yes, it’s still available for those kids who are still in the program, but no new vouchers will be issued. I call for extending the voucher system and not just for DC kids. The entire American educational system should be radically changed so every student has a voucher equal in value to what his school spends to educate him. Rather than the money going the school system to educate the child, the money follows the child to the school of his and his parents’ choosing, whether public or private. Here’s a portion:
The grandfathering of vouchers may be good news for the kids like Mercedes Campbell who are already enrolled, but it’s devastating news for other DC children who were hoping for the opportunity to escape their crowded, unsafe, and dilapidated schools. Unfortunately, they will be condemned to participation in a system that President Obama and 39 percent of Congress refuse to enroll their own children in. The Obamas have chosen to place their daughters in the elite Sidwell Friends School (whose previous students include Chelsea Clinton), yet non-privileged children in the DC area are being denied the same opportunities for a high quality education.
In short, the demise of the DC voucher system is a scandal, and not just for kids in the nation’s capital. There are millions of children – vast amounts of untapped human potential – literally wasting away in failing public city school systems. So many of these kids feel that their academic futures are hopeless they drop out of school in large numbers. The graduation rate in America’s 50 largest cities is only 53 percent, and that’s the good news. Cleveland’s graduation rate is a shocking 38 percent. Even more catastrophic is Detroit’s 24.8 percent graduation rate.
Rather than eliminating the voucher system, the administration should have expanded it. In fact, the entire US school system could be radically improved if it had more in common with the Swedish educational model. In Sweden, all families are allowed to choose their kids’ schools, and the money that the government would have given to the school system or the state to educate each child instead follows the child to whatever school his parents determine suits his needs. The result? Sweden has an array of schools to choose from, both public and private, so parents can pick the school with the most appropriate educational philosophy and cirriculum for their children.
Read all of it, and when you’re finished, please leave a comment at AIP and let me know if you agree or disagree.