- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 4, 2004

There is good and bad news for D.C. school parents. The bad news is that a mismanagement debacle at the District’s Eastern High School continues this Labor Day weekend, as officials scramble to print schedules for students. While authorities fired some of the school’s leaders directly involved with the problem, we again urge them to continue purging the system of incompetent employees — however high or low on the totem pole. In the interim, we will continue encouraging parents to seek alternatives as the public-school bureaucracy tries to get its act together.

The good news is that 1,017 students are now enrolled in private schools around the city thanks to a new federally funded voucher program. “We’re absolutely thrilled that after just five months, more than 1,000 District children and their families will be taking advantage of this pioneering program in school choice this year,” the president of the Washington Scholarship Fund, Sally Sachar, said last week.

Eligible children from low-income families receive up to $7,500 to cover tuition, transportation and fees. The majority of the students utilizing the vouchers are in grade schools (744). Of the 53 schools participating the program, the majority are part of the Archdiocese (22).

Applications for next school year already are being accepted. In fact, Washington Scholarship Fund officials are working to enlist additional schools and additional families. The first of two opportunities for parents and students is scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 2 at the D.C. Armory. Eastern High is but one block away. Considering the mess school administrators made at Eastern, we suspect families in that area might be more than a little interested in learning about their options.

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