• School Vouchers

      Why would a Democratic administration and Congress want to cut such an experiment short?

      Beats me. It’s a good question. And delightful that it comes from the liberal Washington Post Editorial page. The experiment they cite is Washington DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program. Reason’s Shikha Dalmia got it right when she called Obama’s shutting down the program an example of his “quiet ruthlessness.”

      Now the Post, of all papers, suggests two studies that:

      might cause the president to rethink his administration's wrong-headed decision to shut down the voucher program to new students...

      One is from:

      the principal investigator of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows low-income children to attend private schools. He was unequivocal in his findings: "The D.C. voucher program has proven to be the most effective education policy evaluated by the federal government's official education research arm so far."

      The Post is wrong when it says:

      As we've said before, vouchers aren't the answer to Washington's school troubles...

      How would they know? It’s true that vouchers have had a minimal impact in the few cases where they’ve been tried. But that’s largely because Educrats and teachers unions have strangled, or at least crippled, the experiments. We don’t know what would happen if a state had a critical mass of parents who were free to take their $10,000 of government money to a school of their choice. Market competition works for everything else. Why wouldn’t it work for schools?

      At least the Post says:

      we enthusiastically support public school reform and quality charter schools, too. But vouchers are an answer for some children whose options otherwise are bleak. In Washington, they also are part of a carefully designed social-science experiment that may provide useful evidence for all schools on helping low-income children learn. Why would a Democratic administration and Congress want to cut such an experiment short?

      Pre-October 2009