Friday, May 22, 2009

School Choice Movement Faces Strong Opposition

The school choice movement is running into new obstacles, despite it's proven success. Reading the USA Today blog, I came upon an editorial that describes the downfalls with the current administration and it's stances on school choice. The Obama administration will allow the children currently in the DC Scholarship program to continue through graduation, it will not let more children grow and succeed in it.
School Choice Movement Faces Strong Opposition

So it was curious that when President Obama recently allowed 1,716 of Washington's neediest schoolchildren to keep, until graduation, the vouchers they use to escape their failed public schools for higher-quality private ones, he also closed the program to new applicants. All this occurred as the Education Department reported that voucher participants show superior skills in reading, safety and orderliness. The news was buried in an impenetrable study released without a news conference.

Why the ambivalence? Because teacher unions, fearing loss of jobs, have pushed most Democrats to oppose vouchers and other options that invite competition for public schools. Put another way, they oppose giving poor parents the same choice that the president himself — along with his chief of staff and some 35% of Democrats in Congress — have made in sending their children to private schools.

Vouchers have improved the math and reading of inner-city children from Dayton, Ohio, to Charlotte, N.C., various studies show. The Washington vouchers improved the reading of girls and younger kids by about half a school year, though results for other groups were iffier. Yet opposition is so fierce that few voucher experiments survive past the seedling stage.

So school choice is in fact helping these children learn better...given them a better shot at being productive and successful citizens. So why stop it? Teacher unions?

As an Education Department spokesman says, "The unions are not happy." But 20 million low-income school kids need a chance to succeed. School choice is the most effective way to give it to them.

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