The Death of the D.C. Voucher Program


Over at The Daily Caller, Bob Ewing offers a detailed look at how Washington, D.C.'s successful Opportunity Scholarship Program was killed by the teachers unions and their allies in Congress:

OSP targeted about 2,000 of the poorest kids in DC who were stuck in some of the worst schools in the country. It gave their parents a $7,500 scholarship to attend a private school of their choice.

The response was immediate. Four applications were filled out for every slot available. Parents loved the program, considering it a lifeline for their children, a way to escape failing schools and enter safe, functional schools….

So when it came time for Congress to reauthorize OSP, it would seem to be a no-brainer: Expand the program.

Instead, they killed it.

Buried deep inside a 1000+ page, half-trillion-dollar spending bill was a provision that prohibited any new students from entering the program. To top it off, the 216 new students added to OSP for the new academic year were pulled out by Education Secretary Arne Duncan just before the school year started.

Why did this happen? According to former DC Mayor Anthony Williams and former DC Councilman Kevin Chavous (both Democrats), the answer is politics at its worst.

Read the whole sad and infuriating story here. Katherine Mangu-Ward discusses education reform in Washington, D.C. here and here. And for a look at one family's reaction to the program's cancellation, check out Reason.tv's "Barack Obama and the DC School Voucher Program":