26 February 2009

Attention, Mr West!

The omnibus spending bill now moving through the House includes language designed to kill the Opportunity Scholarship Program offering vouchers for poor students to opt out of rotten public schools. The legislation says no federal funds can be used on the program beyond 2010 unless Congress and the D.C. City Council reauthorize it. Given that Democrats control both bodies -- and that their union backers hate school choice -- this amounts to a death sentence.

Republicans passed the program in 2004, with help from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, and it has been extremely popular. Families receive up to $7,500 a year to attend the school of their choice. That's a real bargain, given that D.C. public schools spend $14,400 per pupil on average, among the most in the country.

To qualify, a student's household income must be at or below 185% of the poverty level. Some 99% of the participants are minority, and the average annual income is $23,000 for a family of four. A 2008 Department of Education evaluation found that participants had higher reading scores than their peers who didn't receive a scholarship, and there are four applicants for each voucher...

Without the vouchers, more than 80% of the 1,700 kids would have to attend public schools that haven't made "adequate yearly progress" under No Child Left Behind. Remember all of those Members of Congress standing and applauding on Tuesday as Mr. Obama called for every American child to get some education beyond high school? These are the same Members who protect and defend a D.C. system in which about half of all students fail even to graduate from high school.

Come on Kanye, let's hear you rap it out: Congressional Democrats don't care about Black children!

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought your outrage was genuine not partisan! My bad.

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