(Video) The real victims of Hope and Change

President Obama’s unwarranted decision to abruptly end the successful Washington, DC school voucher program has left many families scrambling to find ways to keep their kids from returning to failing public schools.

One might ask why a President, who is in favor of “choice” when it comes to many things, is vehemently opposed to giving parents the choice to choose a better school.

This was a moving interview from today on Fox & Friends:

Some may argue that we shouldn’t provide vouchers for parents to send their kids to private schools if their public schools are failing. I would counter by saying that we spend billions every year on education, we spend more now than ever and yet the public schools have not generally improved.

Therefore, instead of wastefully pouring money into public schools without making necessary changes, why not try targeting the money at parents and students who want a better choice in their schooling?

For some hard evidence of the overwhelming success just look at what DC public schools spend per student versus the cost per student of the voucher program each year:

DC Public School Spending Per Student: $26,555 annuallysource

DC Voucher Program Spending Per Student: $7,500 annuallysource

It’s cost effective and producing tremendously better results than the DC public schools. Students are receiving a better education at a fraction of the cost in a better school environment.

Some vouchers are even less than $7,500:

According to the official study of the DC voucher program, the average voucher amount is less than $6,000. That is less than ONE QUARTER what DC is spending per pupil on education. And yet, academic achievement in the voucher program is at least as good as in the District schools, and voucher parents are much happier with the program than are public school parents.

It has produced nothing but positive results in our nation’s capital yet President Obama, under pressure from teachers unions, has decided to end the program with no valid reasoning.

  • It’s a shame that b/c Obama has pledge his presidency to the unions, these kids will lose out on a great education. It came as a shock to me, I thought Obama was someone who championed education, especially amongst inner city kids. It’s a shame this presidency is being run but the losers who are in control of these unions. Chrysler union members now own 55% of the company and now the teachers unions are pulling vouchers. I guess we see who was responsible for electing this sorry excuse for a human. Liberals can argue but just remember your taking away a child’s education, did you expect this when you elected Obama?

  • Bones

    I think this is a significantly more complex issue than the general public gives it credit for. On the face of it, making public schools compete for their students and funding seems like a great motivator to kick them into getting better.

    But the reality is that for this to work, it would require a level playing field for competition. Public schools are not granted the ability to choose what students to accept or reject into their walls. Private schools, on the other hand, pick and choose the students they would like to teach, and freely expel the ones that show too many behavioral problems.

    This leaves all the ‘undesirable’ students to the public school system and takes away the best students who are, in addition, the best peer role-models in the school system. How can this do anything but damage the public school education and every child undergoing it? Schools simply cannot provide the same level of education when you remove their best students.

    This program may help consolidate an elite portion of our country in a way that is very beneficial to them, but at the expense everyone else. Most children get left behind.

  • “Most children get left behind.”

    Bones,

    What do you say about every other city which does not have a voucher program and yet has failing schools? Since DC is one of a handful, we can compare it versus areas which do not have the voucher program.

    Your logic doesn’t seem to work when applied to other cities where vouchers are not an option. What is your explanation in those areas for sub-par public schools?

    Think of it this way though, if the voucher program was expanded rather than eliminated, even more students and parents could be helped.

    This is the old “fairness” argument. Some argue that since we can’t help every single student with the voucher program (many because their parents don’t care), we shouldn’t help ANY students. That’s flawed reasoning and hurts everyone more than trying to help as many as possible.

    With vouchers, we give some students chances to excel they might not otherwise have.

    Without vouchers, we guarantee those same students will not have the opportunity, thus ensuring they stay in a bad school district.

  • bones

    I’m not blaming the voucher system for ruining public schools, Nate. The public schools are in dire shape, and have been since long before the voucher program. But you have to see what an expanded voucher program would lead the nation to.

    I would support a voucher program which forced private schools into the same arena as the public schools – namely removing their ability to discriminate between the students they want to teach. But the voucher system as it was being practiced essentially pronounced dead the notion of a freely accessible strong public education system.

    I firmly believe that developing a strong public education system will be necessary to our survival as a nation. This would seem to lead in the exact opposite direction. If vouchers blossom, I only hope we’re prepared to build larger prisons.

  • “I firmly believe that developing a strong public education system will be necessary to our survival as a nation. This would seem to lead in the exact opposite direction. If vouchers blossom, I only hope we’re prepared to build larger prisons.”

    My opinion is the exact opposite of that based on the results seen in DC. The voucher system forces public schools to try and improve as well because they’re now competing for tax dollars.

    Tell me what has remained the same in the last half century in public schools? No real competition!

    The voucher system creates competition and the public schools will acclimate over time.

    We should not bring the voucher system down, we should lift public schools up through competition. The public education system will become stronger when it is competitive.

  • D.D.Mao

    bones…….If you remove the ability to CHOSE WHO PRIVATE SCHOOLS want to teach and put them into the same ” arena” then you aren’t raising education but lowering education to the same sub-standard level parents want to get away from.But thats PRESIDENT OBAMA’S POLICY DON’T RAISE PEOPLES LIVING STANDARDS BUT LOWER THE HAVES DOWN TO THE LOWEST LEVEL!

    TRICKLE UP POVERTY!!!

  • bones

    How about this for competition, Nate? You and I open up competing businesses. You give me all the most sought after resources, and I’ll let you have what I don’t want. Now any bets on who will do better?

    Fair competition might be productive. I mean, if the private schools simply have superior teachers, philosophies, and administration systems in place, than by all means let them teach America’s students! But let them demonstrate it by teaching the same students our public schools must educate.

    But don’t deceive yourself. Rigged competition is not competition, and it will improve neither competitor.

  • bones

    Exactly my point DD, I think we mostly see eye to eye. School voucher programs are about removing our brightest minds from the crumbling public school system. Can’t blame any of them for wanting to leave. But at the point we commit to this endeavor, we might as well abolish public schooling all together and save the vast amounts of tax dollars it’s costing us.

  • bones, you’re distorting reality in the name of “fairness” which takes everyone down instead of lifting some up.

    See this Heritage Foundation report on the voucher program:

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/wm1965.cfm

    Furthermore, I want you to answer me one question. You say you want to just improve public schools, not implement the voucher program.

    How do you suggest we improve public schools without competition?

    Clearly the answer isn’t more money. What is your solution?

    Also, here are the actual guidelines when applying for the DC Voucher program from their website:

    http://www.washingtonscholarshipfund.org/programs/opportunity/index.html

    To qualify for a D.C. Opportunity Scholarship for the 2009-2010 school year, students must:

    * Live in Washington, D.C.
    * Currently attend a public or charter school
    * Be five years-old by September 30th, 2009, or be entering Kindergarten through 12th grade for the 2009-2010 school year
    * Have a household income at or below 185% of poverty, based on 2008 income (See the table provided)

    Funny, I don’t see the caveat that only straight-A students can apply, did I miss that, bones?

    More kids qualify than the program could accept. Nearly 4,000 applied but only 1,900 could be enrolled. We should expand it and watch the success grow.

    Plus, once awarded a voucher, parents have over 50 schools to choose from. Therefore, you can’t tell me that only good students get into the good schools with 50 schools competing for vouchers.

    List of schools:

    http://www.washingtonscholarshipfund.org/PDF/schoollist.pdf
    (PDF document)

    Bones, this program is not what you describe it to be, it is all-inclusive for students of low-income families who actually care about their child’s education.

    Here is your argument summed up in one sentence:

    “Since not all kids can get a voucher and into a better school, we have to keep them all in bad schools so they all have equally bad opportunities and none of them excel.”

    Makes sense to me! Not.

  • D.D.Mao

    BONES…….Ugggggggg! NO we don’t see eye to eye on this. I totally agree with Nate. If you can remove the brightest minds from the public school system all the better.Why should they stagnate in a system that will drag them down just so they will be on the same level as the poorest student.President Obama and the Democrat party base their whole policy and beliefs on “PEOPLES DESPERATION AND NOT PEOPLES ASPIRATIONS”.AND IF THEY CAN SUCK THE MARROW OUT OF OUR KIDS MINDS WHILE GETTING DONATIONS FROM THE TEACHERS UNION ALL THE BETTER!They don’t give a rats butt about education they just look at an opportunity.

  • bones

    Hmm, I’ll admit that does make it sound like I have some misconceptions about the operations of the voucher program. I’ll have to look more into it later. If students are awarded vouchers indiscriminately, and students with vouchers are all able to find schools to accept them, then I apologize for my mis-characterization.

  • D.D.Mao

    bones…….If a students education was based on the amount of money a city spent on each student Washington DC would have the brightest students in the nation.

    As I said what you want is “TRICKLE UP POVERTY”

  • JD

    Just because you get a voucher doesn’t mean you are accepted into the school you apply to.

  • bones

    I don’t see how this has anything to do with “trickle-up poverty” DD. Doesn’t the voucher program meet better with that description? Allowing poverty stricken students into traditionally expensive private institutions?

  • “Just because you get a voucher doesn’t mean you are accepted into the school you apply to.”

    Of course not, but you have 50+ others to apply for as well.

    JD, what is your opinion on the voucher program in general?

  • D.D.Mao

    BONES……..I’m looking at it from your arguements end when I said trickle up poverty. You don’t want to raise the public school students as much as lower the private schools to the public school level.

    Conservatives look for peoples aspirations not desperations!

  • JD

    Nate, Here are my thoughts.

    “not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but they should have the equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation, to make something of themselves.”

    Firstly, I think the voucher program has its Pros and Cons. However, I do believe that we should be allowed to have our children attend the school of which their abilities would allow or that is more specific to their talents.

    The cons of this is that although a child may be capable of attending the best schools he is limited to the ability of the parents to provide it no matter if you use the voucher program. For example, poverty families have a hard time getting children to the school of their choice as the buses from those schools do not pick up from their locations.

    I have once had a conversation on how to relieve this problem and one was to create a public school transportation system that was in charge of busing children to and from any school needed no mater location. Just as long as you are in the jurisdiction of the city which is providing it. This would be paid for with part of what we pay in taxes for education.

    The next problem would be that certain schools would undoubtedly raise there tuition costs as more students apply than can be allowed in. Which will take us out of the means of allowing ability for choice and replace it with family monetary resources for enrollment.

    To stop this you would have to put a cap on the amount a school can charge per student(a reasonable cap). Instead, relying on enrollment fund raising for extra costs they require. Much like the alumni of a college gives to the university…previous students or parents of the students can give as needed but not force raising tuition costs.

    So can the voucher system work? Yes
    Can a public education system work ? Yes

    Can both of them fail if their weaknesses are not addressed? Yes

  • “The next problem would be that certain schools would undoubtedly raise there tuition costs as more students apply than can be allowed in. Which will take us out of the means of allowing ability for choice and replace it with family monetary resources for enrollment.”

    Well I have a hunch that as the voucher system continued creating success and was slowly expanded, public schools would have to start bringing themselves up to compete with the system. Thus if public schools improve as a by-product, then it will level off some of the demand.

    Either way your answer is fair and constructive, thank you for the thoughtful input.

  • JD

    Nate, the voucher system works by giving tax money back to the household per child to allow them to go to the school of their choice.

    So the downside is that it would take money away from schools. Not to say this is a bad thing but to say that changing from the system we currently have to a system you are describing comes at the cost of campus closures and at least 6 years of fluctuation in individual school funding.

    On the flip side there is much that can be done to bring our current schools systems up without going to the voucher program.

  • D.D.Mao

    Nate/Conservative Gal………It seems like quite a long time since we heard from Babs and I know she is having to look after her Mom. Please tell her our thoughts and prayers are with her and we hope to hear from her again soon.

    Wishing Her All The Best ……DDM

  • D.D.Mao

    The Senate passes a bill authorizing a VOUCHER FOR $4,500. in order for a person to buy a more FUEL EFFIECENT CAR but rejects SCHOOL VOUCHERS FOR DC KIDS.
    The story can be found at:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/08/no-choice-in-dc/

    THERE’S YOUR HOPE IN THE DOPE

  • “So the downside is that it would take money away from schools.”

    Once again. We spend more money on public education than ever before. Money is not the issue, it hasn’t been for a long time. We spend the money, billions every year but we don’t address the issues such as political correctness not allowing children to fail, etc… Bad teachers who can’t be fired because of union influence.. Outdated resources because the district mis-manages the obscene money it has to build sports complexes.

    School districts think they have a blank check which can never changed. They need a new mentality which is you’re funding derives from your performance. Right now districts waste money and it doesn’t matter. If they actually had to compete for taxpayer dollars, they might take a different, more responsible approach.

    So again, we can choose to waste more money on education or we can choose to re-allocate the current funding into programs that have proven results, like the voucher system.