Would you like a choice between private and public schools?
At one point, before President Obama came along and helped kill the opportunity, there was a school choice program in the Washington, D.C. area. And it was aimed not at the high class, elite, wealthy children, but at the disadvantaged – the lowest income among us.
Isn’t this what the left stands for?
But it was discontinued under union and other political opponents of the choice programs around the country. There was no discussion, no trading of ideas. There was no negotiation, reform or any other work done to try and save what has been a very successful program.
There was never any reason given for the shutting down of the funding.
The reason, though, is painfully clear considering the opposition.
The teachers’ unions.
Is it because the public schools don’t match up in any category? At all?
The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program is what can happen in the schools around the country if this were to be expanded – and therein lies the problem. It is too damn good. The teachers who belong to public school unions don’t want to be shown up by these public charter and private schools. And they have been.
Students who have failed or been subjected to the hells of the failing DC schools, run by politically correct, don’t hurt their feelings, pass ‘em even if they fail types that you see in any public school were succeeding at harder, more disciplined and more demanding programs.
Because, they saw the difference. They know that succeeding at this private school not only is better for their future, but a gift that shouldn’t be abused.
They wear uniforms or conform to a dress code, deal with stringent rules and an honor code and horror of horrors, unlike many public schools nowadays that don’t want to harm the social lives of the youth, have them doing homework. What a shock – ask more of the kids and they can succeed.
The great thing you most likely won’t hear about in the mainstream media is the fact that this is a three part approach to school improvement.
Not only would this new SOAR act (Scholarships for Opportunity and Results) reauthorize the private schools to receive scholarships, but the public schools and charter schools will as well.
There will also be, according to the act improvements to the existing Opportunity Scholarship Program:
- Financial Accountability
- Increased Scholarship Awards (elementary – 8,000/yr; high school 12,000/yr)
- Increases Accountability (Democrat reforms)
- Administrative Expenses capped at 3% (2% more can be used to educate parents on the program)
- Tutoring for high need students (1% of funds)
Also – in assessing the achievement and progress of the recipients:
- Compares achievement of those who got scholarships to those who applied and were refused
- Parental Satisfaction
- Reasons for Choice – identifies the reasons parents chose to participate
- Comparing key indicators – Compares indicators between public and OSP schools
- School Safety
There are additional reporting requirements of private schools:
- Schools shall administer a national norm referenced standardized test in reading and math
- Report results to parents and guardians as well as Institute of Education Sciences
In order to get the additional funding for the public schools and charter schools, the Mayor of DC must submit a report on how the funds authorized under Soar were used and how they are contributing to student achievement.
Also – Eligibility of the recipients:
- Only available to students from low income families and there is a preference given to siblings of children already in the program
- Must be a student who resides in DC and their household doesn’t earn more that 185% of the poverty line and/or must receive assistance from supplemental nutrition assistance program
- Since in the past some scholarship recipients when their parents economic situation improved modestly, there would be an increase to 300% of the federal poverty line for a household limit if the student is already enrolled – this will stop disincentive for people to receive promotions or raises.
This was and has been a model program for many students in the DC area, some of whom I have watched testify in front of committees in the House and Senate.
I can’t understand the whole “it’s for the good of the children” going by the wayside simply to protect the reputation of teachers who fear the results of this program.
There is bipartisan support to re-institute this program and help the next generation of DC low income students be better for themselves and our nation in the long run.
You would have to question the commitment to the future of the children of DC and the motivation behind anyone who attempted to derail an already successful and beneficial program such as this.
Senator Lieberman and Feinstein are behind this as well and have introduced a mirror piece of legislation in the Senate along with Senators Alexander and Ensign.