- - Sunday, May 1, 2016

Even though the Obama White House, perhaps mindful of its current resident’s ‘legacy,’ will not try yet again to kill the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program begun by Congress in 2004, it was not above recently issuing a snarky statement that the federal government should spend all-out in order to improve public schools for “all students” rather than “using federal resources to support a handful of students in private schools” (“White House won’t veto D.C. school voucher bill,” Web, April 27).

The vouchers have enabled 6,385 students from low-income families in the nation’s capital to attend private or parochial schools chosen for them by their parents. The private-choice scholarships amount to a maximum of $8,381 for elementary and middle school, and $12,572 for high school. Meanwhile, per-pupil spending in the D.C. public schools is a whopping $29,400, the highest in the nation.

Studies done by respected researchers for the U.S. Department of Education found that the D.C. voucher students had much higher graduation rates and higher achievement than their peers in public schools. Levels of parental satisfaction also were higher in the voucher schools. So for a fraction of the “resources” lavished on the public schools, the voucher schools produced superior educational outcomes.

New political leadership coming to Washington in January ought to look at ways to expand parental choice dramatically, as this could deliver excellent education for all at a much lower cost.


Senior fellow for education policy

The Heartland Institute

Arlington Heights, Ill.

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