Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"You can no longer dismiss this as Catholic or right-wing"

Great news on the common sense approach to educational reform known as school vouchers. I blogged on this before. Obama has got to pay his union buddies, but the public is unconvinced. Maybe it's because he can afford to send his kids HERE?

Here are some excerpts:

"You can no longer dismiss this as Catholic or right-wing," says Jeanne Allen of the Center on Education Reform, a Washington think tank.

Allen has pushed for vouchers and charter schools for decades. She originally thought the shift was generational. "But I actually think it has more to do with more-principled people who understand and have seen how badly the existing system has hurt minority kids."

While Chavous and others say vouchers are far from the perfect solution, they're worth offering to students in the nation's bleakest public schools. Urban Democrats, he says, "see that what's happening to our kids in these schools just is unacceptable — we need to look at all options."

It's the kids, stupid.

The party split will be on display Wednesday when former Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman, now an independent, chairs a hearing on Washington, D.C.'s federally funded Opportunity Scholarship Program. It's perhaps the most high-profile voucher hearing of the past five years, coming a few days after two prominent Democrats, Dianne Feinstein and Robert Byrd, joined a handful of Republicans to criticize President Obama for letting funding for D.C.'s program lapse.

Lieberman's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear testimony from families whose children attend private schools through the program. He'll also hear from Williams and Bruce Stewart, head of Sidwell Friends School, where Obama's two daughters are enrolled.

I was thinking: if Bill Clinton was the first black president, maybe Barack Obama is the first Uncle Tom president? Just a thought.

Mary Lord, a member of the D.C. State Board of Education, says the statistics may be misleading because many of the voucher kids attend the city's worst schools. She says the voucher, which provides up to $7,500 a year, gives "enormous bang for the buck," considering that the city's per-pupil budget for year is, by one estimate, nearly $17,000 per student.

"It's a no-brainer to me," she says.

The difference is $9,500.00 per kid. I did that in my head, aren't you impressed. It's a no-brainer for both Ms. Lord and me, but for the tired old NEA-whipped politicians, math is hard.