“House and Senate Appropriators this week ignored the wishes of D.C.’s mayor, D.C.’s public schools chancellor, a majority of D.C.’s city council, and more than 70 percent of D.C. residents and have mandated the slow death of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. This successful school voucher program–for D.C.’s poorest families–has allowed more than 3,300 children to attend the best schools they have ever known.
The decision to end the program, a decision buried in a thousand-page spending bill and announced right before the holidays, destroys the hopes and dreams of thousands of D.C. families. Parents and children have rallied countless times over the past year in support of reauthorization and in favor of strengthening the OSP.
Yet, despite the clearly positive results and the proven success of this program, Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Jose Serrano, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Secretary Arne Duncan worked together to kill the OSP. Funding the program only for existing children shrinks the program each year, compromises the federal evaluation of the program, denies entry to the siblings of existing participants, and punishes those children waiting in line by sentencing them to failing and often unsafe schools.
What is incredibly disappointing to low-income families in Washington, D.C. has been the silence of President Barack Obama. The President, who benefited from K-12 scholarships himself, worked on behalf of low-income families in Chicago, and exercises school choice as a parent, has stood silently on the sidelines while his Secretary of Education belittled the importance of helping such a small number of children in the nation’s capital.”
At BigGovernment.com, SusanAnne Hiller notes,
The Democrats have spent trillions of our tax dollars so carelessly with failed stimulus pork payouts, cash for clunkers, auto bailouts, bank bailouts, and additional Fannie and Freddie bailouts, you would think they could spare an extra $50 million over five years to continue to educate poor children-especially minority children.
For the record, it was the Republicans in 2004 who started the voucher program and Republican Senator John Ensign (R-NV) who introduced an amendment to the omnibus appropriations bill to extend the voucher program. Democrats voted down the amendment 50-39.
Are Democrats so steeped in the venom of partisanship that they simply could not bring themselves to approve an extension of a program that has given thousands of poor minority children a chance to earn admission to some of DC’s best private schools, simply because the program was enacted by Republicans? No, that can’t be right — we became a “post-partisan” nation on January 20, 2009, didn’t we?
I’ll admit it. I’m stumped, probably because I’m not enlightened enough. I’m sure our leftist commenters can easily explain how shutting poor inner city minority children out of perhaps their only chance for a good education is really the best thing for those children and their families. Steve Green? Vic? bryanD? Unrepentant Democrat? Help me out here, please.
UPDATE: The Anchoress and others like the idea of blogs raising private scholarship money and giving it to needy DC families. What do you think?