President Obama’s Omnibus Spending Bill, which is being debated on in Congress, definitely displays the worst in wasteful spending. This bill, at best, is a move to supersize the government even more. However, this bill is a major threat to many students in Washington, D.C., who attend private schools on school vouchers, and it also poses a potential threat to school choice on the national level.
In a recent post on RedState, Robert Bluey details the threats from the Liberals in Congress, who would rather leave a child behind in failing schools, rather than offer an opportunity to quality education at a higher performing school.
Leave it to liberals to pull the rug out from these struggling families. Without a scholarship, these students — 99% of whom are minorities — won’t be able to afford the private schools where President Barack Obama and members of Congress send their children. Scholarship recipients come from families with mere $23,000 annual income on average.
The threat posed to the Opportunity Scholarship Program is also an attack on the broader school choice movement — one that Obama spoke favorably of Tuesday when he promised to “open doors of opportunity for our children.” Failing to save the D.C. program will give liberals the impetus to attack successful school choice efforts elsewhere.
The scholarship program has the support of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who is trying to reform city’s notorious public school system, plagued by years of poor performance.
Not only is the program giving poor families hope for the future, it’s also a good value. As Andrew J. Coulson of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom, explains in today’s New York Post:
The vouchers are worth an average of $6,000; last year, the District was spending $24,600 per student. If you could save 75 percent on a purchase, get the same or better quality of service, and know you’d be happier with the result, wouldn’t you do it? … It seems congressional Democrats would not.
For a party that claims to look out for the little guy, this is a clear sign that well-funded teachers’ unions (a major source of Democrat campaign cash) are really running the show. Putting this provision in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill without a single congressional hearing and no debate is an outrage.
The 1,800 students who participate in the program deserve the same educational opportunities as Sasha and Malia. How their father reacts will indicate if he’s going to kowtow to union politics or fulfill his promise to “open doors of opportunity for our children.”
After all, Obama owes it to his friends at the NEA, who worked tirelessly to get him elected, since they are losing students in the D.C. Public School system. Many of these schools are plagued with violence and the performance on standard assessment tests are below their peers at public schools in Maryland and Virginia.
Perhaps, The Washington Post further slams the Democrats in Congress for their attempts to take school choice away from these students and their families. Maybe, it is time to stop being partisans and listen to the voices that this legislation will affect.