Vouchers: They Work, Dems Bow to Unions

According to the WSJ Opinion page, President Obama pledged that if he saw more proof of vouchers success he would “not allow my predisposition to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn . . . You do what works for the kids.”

Well here are some stats:

  • President Obama’s stimulus is sending some $100 billion to the nation’s school districts.
  • New York legislature last week froze funding for charters but increases it by more that $400 million for other public schools.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan commented on the NYC voucher program: “Graduation rates are up. Test scores are up. Teacher salaries are up. Social promotion was eliminated. Dramatically increasing parental choice. That’s real progress.”

The Opportunity Scholarship Program (D.C.) provides $7,500 vouchers to 1,700 low-income families in D.C. to send their children to private schools.

  • Ninety-nine percent of the children are black or Hispanic
  • There are more than four applicants for each scholarship
  • Children are reading nearly a half-grade ahead of their peers who did not receive vouchers
  • Voucher recipients are doing no better in math but they’re doing no worse.

    Voucher recipients were tested last spring. The scores were analyzed in the late summer and early fall, and in November preliminary results were presented to a team of advisers who work with the Education Department to produce the annual evaluation. Since Education officials are intimately involved in this process, they had to know what was in this evaluation even as Democrats passed (and Mr. Obama signed) language that ends the program after next year…

    The decision to let 1,700 poor kids get tossed from private schools is a moral disgrace. It also exposes the ugly politics that lies beneath union and liberal efforts across the country to undermine mayoral control, charter schools, vouchers or any reform that threatens their monopoly over public education dollars and jobs. The Sheldon Silver-Dick Durbin Democrats aren’t worried that school choice doesn’t work. They’re worried that it does, and if Messrs. Obama and Duncan want to succeed as reformers they need to say so consistently.

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