Marion Barry for School Vouchers

Former Washington, D.C., mayor and current D.C. Council Member Marion Barry comes out in favor of school vouchers, provided the money does not come from the existing public school budget. That proviso relieves much of the competitive pressure that otherwise might encourage public schools to improve, but at least Barry acknowledges the desirability of choice and diversity in education:

I support this package [$74 million in federal money for public schools, charter schools, and private school scholarships] because it provides much-needed financial support to all D.C. schools and because it offers parents a choice without hurting public schools. That's a win-win situation. We must make sure that children in the District are given every chance to attend schools that work for them. To do anything else is wrong.

Is it too much to hope that, if voucher-equipped students leave D.C.'s public schools in droves, the reduced enrollment will one day lead to a lower budget? The Cato Institute's Andrew Coulson estimates that "DC public schools are spending about $24,600 per pupil this school year—roughly $10,000 more than the average for area private schools."

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  • ||

    "DC public schools are spending about $24,600 per pupil this school year-roughly $10,000 more than the average for area private schools."

    Metal detectors ain't cheap.

  • ||

    ...$24,600 per pupil this school year-roughly $10,000 more than the average

    Oooohhh. Those students in DC must be extra smart by now.

  • Christina||

    It'd be more cost-effective to just enroll every kid in private school!

  • LarryA||

    Is it too much to hope that, if voucher-equipped students leave D.C.'s public schools in droves, the reduced enrollment will one day lead to a lower budget?

    $74 million will only support about 5,000 students. Once they leave public schools will apply for a tax increase, claiming that the remaining students will be the hard-to-teach ones.

  • ||

    Is it too much to hope that, if voucher-equipped students leave D.C.'s public schools in droves, the reduced enrollment will one day lead to a lower budget?

    This is Washington D.C.
    Of course it's too much to hope,

  • drawnasunder||

    Vouchers? What's he been smoking?

    Oh, right.

  • Colin||

    "The bitch set me up . . ."

  • Kolohe||

    That proviso relieves much of the competitive pressure that otherwise might encourage public schools to improve,

    Maybe, maybe not.

    But like the starfish parable, it improve the lot of $74 mil / ($25K / 1 student) = about 3000 kids.

  • Travis||

    I love the fact that the FBI thought they had ruined Marion Barry's political career with that sting operation. The Feds couldn't understand that the D.C. residents saw it for what it really was, railroading a black politician. I remember being in D.C. not long after it happened there were street vendors all over the city selling t-shirts calling the prostitute a bitch for setting him up.

  • Neil||

    Maybe Marion Barry can be Obama's running mate.

  • Andy||

    Do I dare click on a link up top to the NEA's website called "The truth about vouchers"? Yes I do.

    What an adorable little group. Nothing brings out the best and most honest political discussion like people feeling their livelihood is being threatened.

  • Evolve||

    School vouchers could also help end the debate about evolution vs. creationism being taught in public schools.

  • ||

    He's being gracious while accepting federal money.

    I'm glad you approve, Jacob.

  • ||

    My dream ticket is Barry/Spitzer.

  • ||

    It'd be more cost-effective to just enroll every kid in private school!

    If the goal were education, sure. The goal of public schooling however, is indoctrination and patronage.

    -jcr

  • Lost in Paradise||

    Sort of like the post office - the more kiosks (less cusomized delivery), the more the price of postage goes up. Government can have some pretty perverse incentives.

  • ||

    The sad thing about the FBI's attempt to railroad Barry on a drug charge, is that they were too goddamned lazy to build the case and bust him for the corruption he was up to his eyeballs in. His right-hand man, Ivanhoe Donaldson (no kidding, that was the perp's name) got busted for taking kickbacks on city contracts. Displaying a stunning level of incompetence, the FBI agents involved assumed that if they caught him with drugs, then he'd have no support at all from the public.

    -jcr

  • TallDave||

    "DC public schools are spending about $24,600 per pupil this school year-roughly $10,000 more than the average for area private schools."

    As I recall, the number for Catholic schools was around $3,000 pp, and they had some of the highest test scores in the country whiie DC public schools have some of the worst.

    Pols need to get out of the pockets of the teachers' unions. Like the charter school guy in the Drew Carey video said, we don't build schools for the teachers.

  • ||

    Pols need to get out of the pockets of the teachers' unions.

    Pockets? Never heard it called that before.

    -jcr

  • Oher Matt||


    As I recall, the number for Catholic schools was around $3,000 pp, and they had some of the highest test scores in the country whiie DC public schools have some of the worst.


    No, it's higher than that, but DC is about to get much worse as they're taking on a $3B improvement program for their infrastructure.

    Of course, now that they know they have not only lead contaminated Astroturf but also arsenic in their natural grass playing fields, maybe the cost will go higher still.

  • ||

    provided the money does not come from the existing public school budget.

    On a related note, I am in favor of having a Porche as long as it does not in any way affect my ability to pay for my Saturn.

  • ||

    I don't mind paying extra at the post office to use kiosks. It is much more convenient and I DO NOT WANT to see or deal with postal employees.

    I also choose to use grocery stores ( plus hardware and other stores) that use self-checkout. Again, it makes a much better shopping experience.

    I would gladly pay more for education if it means less/no teachers ( who pretty much serve the same purpose as a cashier).

  • ||

    Public school teachers aren't bad people, they're just not very bright. They want complete control over every aspect of the school, including pay, hours, number of children per teacher, school building projects, etc.

    Example:
    They generally agree that teachers need to be paid more because it's better for children because you get better qualified people applying to be teachers. Oh but heavens, keep us tenured people on but give us the same pay increase, even if there is someone better than us who would take the job.

    Disclosure: My mom is a school teacher.

  • guy in the back row||

    It really screwed the country in unexpected ways when women were allowed to work in every profession. Up to the 1970s, you basically had restricted the top IQ members of half the population to either teaching or nursing. By allowing them to become doctors, CEOs, or whatever else they wanted, we got the bottom of the barrel for teachers and nursing, while costs shot way up.

    I thinks it's getting better.

  • they\'re harder but also worth||

    $74 million will only support about 5,000 students. Once they leave public schools will apply for a tax increase, claiming that the remaining students will be the hard-to-teach ones.

    The ones left will be the harder to teach ones, generally speaking. However, that doesn't justify a tax increase.

    Public school will become a school of last resort for students with family/behavior/fill in the blank problems. Maybe that does cost more money. That doesn't bother me. Let the easy to educate kids make up the difference and it should work out.

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