Tuesday, August 4, 2009

D.C. Voucher Program Not the Success Media Pretends it is.

Another opinion, backed by facts, chimes in on the voucher debate.

Rev. Barry W. Lynn-I'm talking about is the "D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program," which thanks to a few select senators, may be reauthorized, despite the fact that it is unconstitutional and completely unsuccessful.

Today, the Washington Post ran an editorial called "Children First." The Post said, "The program has more applicants than slots; rigorous study has shown significant improvements in student reading, and parents are happy that their children are in schools that are safer and of better quality."

I don't know where the Post is getting these facts because they are far from accurate. It's this type of propaganda that keeps alive this program that takes federal taxpayer.

Besides, we know for certain that this voucher program has not done what it set out to do. All three congressionally mandated Department of Education studies of the D.C. voucher program have shown that the program has had no effect on the academic achievement of the target students and no effect on students overall in math. And students in the voucher program actually have less access to key services -- such as English as a Second Language program, learning support, special needs programs and counselors -- than students in D.C.'s public schools. (See results of the three studies here, here and here.)

Even long-time advocates of vouchers see that voucher programs are failures. An article in the April 2008 issue of Washington Monthly concluded that "some stalwart advocates of vouchers have either repudiated the idea entirely or considerably tempered their enthusiasm for it." The article cited former Milwaukee (which had one of the first voucher programs in the country) superintendent Howard Fuller, who admitted, "It hasn't worked like we thought it would in theory."

No, it definitely has not.

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