Let me rise
Listen to Juan Williams on the DC Scholarship program. Folks, we have to do something about this.
From Virginia Walden at DC Parents for School Choice:
Sens. Lieberman (I-CT), Collins (R-ME), Feinstein (D-CA), Voinovich (R-OH), Byrd (D-WV), and Ensign (R-NV) have sponsored a bipartisan amendment that would save the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) – a program that has been an educational lifeline for more than 3,330 children from very low-income District of Columbia families.
Despite assuring Senate supporters of OSP more than a year ago that they would have floor time to offer their reauthorization legislation, the Senators have not been allowed a vote on this program.
Yesterday, after the Lieberman amendment was filed, all Senators received threatening letters from the teachers union, as well as other wildly inaccurate special interest group letters about the scholarship program. No amount of spin from defenders of the status quo can hide three undeniable facts about the OSP:
It works. According to the federal evaluation, whose research has been validated by the Obama Administration’s own “What Works Clearinghouse”, the Opportunity Scholarship Program is one of only three education programs studied by the Institute of Education Sciences to show positive results. OSP also shows by far the most academic gain for students.
It enjoys overwhelming support. Four consecutive studies from Georgetown University and the University of Arkansas show overwhelming parental satisfaction; polling from separate and unaffiliated organizations over the past three years shows an average of 70% support from DC residents; it is supported by the Mayor, former Mayors, Public Schools Chancellor, a majority of the City Council; and more than 8,400 low-income families have applied for scholarships.
It helps those most in need. The average family income for participants is $24,000 per year and 86% of participating students would otherwise be in a failing and, all too often, unsafe school.
What are President Obama and Congress afraid of? Why are they siding with special interests instead of low-income parents and kids? $4.5 BILLION in Race to the Top funds and they can’t support $20 million for a proven program that helps low-income kids right here in Washington, D.C. get a good education?
Shame on us. Shame on the President. And shame on the Senate if it does not allow the program to go forward. Call Senator Kerry at (202) 224-2742 and Senator Brown at (202) 224-4543.