Democrats are poised to kill an educational program that has shown results for those who otherwise couldn’t afford to take their kids out of failing public schools.  The Washington Post editorializes:

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 [Rep. David] 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.

As I said 9  years ago, while keeping money in people’s pockets is the best way to deal with school choice, vouchers are a good fall-back position.  (The moment money touches the hands of the government, the use of it on religious schools becomes an issue.  I don’t think it should be, but that’s the way it currently is.)  But why would Washington Democrats not even want this proven program removed?  The Post continues.

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?

Why must the government be the be-all, end-all solution to these guys?  They proclaim that they care about the poor and about education, and then then kill a popular and successful education program for the poor.  Which are we to believe; their words or their actions?

And if public schools can’t handle the competition, they should be the ones feeling the pinch, not the private schools.

Filed under: DemocratsDougEducationPolitics

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