The Obama Administration’s Shameful Opposition to the DC Scholarship Program



By 03/29/2011

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Here’s the “Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 471 – Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act.”

While the Administration appreciates that H.R. 471 would provide Federal support for improving public schools in the District of Columbia (D.C.), including expanding and improving high-quality D.C. public charter schools, the Administration opposes the creation or expansion of private school voucher programs that are authorized by this bill. The Federal Government should focus its attention and available resources on improving the quality of public schools for all students. Private school vouchers are not an effective way to improve student achievement. The Administration strongly opposes expanding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and opening it to new students.

Rigorous evaluation over several years demonstrates that the D.C. program has not yielded improved student achievement by its scholarship recipients compared to other students in D.C. While the President’s FY 2012 Budget requests funding to improve D.C. public schools and expand high-quality public charter schools, the Administration opposes targeting resources to help a small number of individuals attend private schools rather than creating access to great public schools for every child.

A few quick thoughts:

1. The path to ESEA reauthorization just got a lot steeper, as many Republicans will refuse to play ball with an Administration not willing to compromise on a top GOP priority.

2. The Administration is being dishonest about the evaluation data, which show strong positive effects for the recipients of the DC vouchers. In fact, if anything, the current research shows stronger impacts for students receiving vouchers than for students attending charter schools.

3. The NEA: 1. Poor black kids in DC: Zero.

-Mike Petrilli




Comment on this article
  • [...] Now we’ve got the actual text of the Obama Administration’s position on the Program. Courtesy of EdNext/Michael Petrilli, the “Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 471 – Scholarships for Opportunity and Results [...]

  • Jay P. Greene says:

    You are completely right, Mike. Thanks for posting this.

  • Charles Glenn says:

    So frustrating to have all this self-righteous blather about “a small number of individuals”; reminds me of Blake’s “He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: general Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, for Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars.”

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