Far too often we hear that cry from the left – the evil-doers on the right are trying to defund education and school lunch programs and force kids into factories while those on the left are fighting for the children and a better education for them. Right?
Except that the data doesn’t support that. Case in point: for the seventh year in a row President Obama has proposed defunding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Let me repeat that: for the SEVENTH year in a row. And as an aside, remember that the democrats think the GOP is crazy for trying to defund the PP-ACA repeatedly. Check.
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is a school choice program that provides inner city children in D.C. the chance to attend private schools (just like the Obama children do) and get a better education than the failing public schools. Ninety-five percent of its nearly 5,000 beneficiaries are black. It has a proven track record: 91% high school graduation rate (as compared to 56% for the D.C. public schools). The President has refused – not ignored, actively refused – to meet with the families fighting for their children who benefit from this program. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the D.C. representative in Congress, has actively opposed the program. Those who support it and keep it going? John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz and other conservatives in Congress.
The largest argument you will hear from the left is that these program strip funding from the public schools so how can they improve? First, that is probably as close to an admission of their failure as you’ll get – which is the real problem that should be addressed here…but without accountability of the teachers and administrators, we’ll never get there. Second, Congress authorized $20 million for the program and, at the same time, added an extra $20 million to the public schools. Now, that is a bit fo a red herring as studies demonstrate that adding more money to public schools hasn’t resulted in improvements as one might hope. Funding isn’t the problem – although I’m sure many on the right would be happy to give those teachers who truly fight and struggle to educate their students with a sense of accountability, a raise.
Just over a week ago, President Obama argued that “opportunity gaps” fueled the Baltimore riots. Wouldn’t this be an opportunity to close those gaps…at least in one inner city?
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