First, here’s Matthew Ladner from about a year ago on what we know about the DC voucher program:
In sum, the five-year evaluation of the DC voucher program has shown that low-income students who recieved scholarships have higher graduation rates, higher student achievement, increased parental views of safety, and increased parent satisfaction. There was not one single negative finding over the entire course of the evaluation. I’d say that’s quite a success for a program that spent a fraction of the per-pupil amount spent in DC public schools.
Sounds like a pretty good value to me. You’d think every politician on both sides of the aisle – and even the ones sitting it out in the break room – would be all over this. School success is rare enough; success for less? Two words: “Holy Grail.”
Then Ladner asked:
So when does the re-authorization begin?
Again, that was a year ago. Now we’ve got the actual text of the Obama Administration’s position on the Program. Courtesy of EdNext/Michael Petrilli, the “Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 471 – Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act”:
While the Administration appreciates that H.R. 471 would provide Federal support for improving public schools in the District of Columbia (D.C.), including expanding and improving high-quality D.C. public charter schools, the Administration opposes the creation or expansion of private school voucher programs that are authorized by this bill. The Federal Government should focus its attention and available resources on improving the quality of public schools for all students. Private school vouchers are not an effective way to improve student achievement. The Administration strongly opposes expanding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and opening it to new students.
Rigorous evaluation over several years demonstrates that the D.C. program has not yielded improved student achievement by its scholarship recipients compared to other students in D.C. While the President’s FY 2012 Budget requests funding to improve D.C. public schools and expand high-quality public charter schools, the Administration opposes targeting resources to help a small number of individuals attend private schools rather than creating access to great public schools for every child.
So much for the evidence, wrote Jay Greene last year in City Journal.
As Petrilli writes:
“The NEA: 1. Poor black kids in DC: Zero.”
I’d amend that to:
“The NEA: Infinite. Poor black kids in DC: Zero.”
I’d work in something about how those kids did score 1, but it was called back by a bad ref – I’m just not capable of doing that artfully.
And something about half-time lasting another two years.