Don't D.C. Children Deserve an Equal Opportunity Education?

It took me a minute to get off of the floor Sunday morning after reading The Washington Times, from which I learned that the government’s newest great idea has been released: cutting out the Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Would someone please show me the logic behind crippling a program that is so widely supported and that is doing so well? Why is the government going to hinder a program that secures private funds to allow people with low incomes to go to private schools? Even the argument that it’s using government money is only partially true if the donations are tax-deductible. The argument that we should not abandon public schools is hypocritical, since we all know that President Obama’s daughters are going to private school. One could only hope that one’s president would practice what he preaches.

Leave this program alone, let people choose where they want to go — that’s the capitalistic way — and if schools want more kids, they must have something good to offer. If the government steps in, then it will just be whichever schools support the current party that get the funding, and that’s the last thing we need: more partisanship.

Observe the repairman’s mantra: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Go find something that needs fixing and fix that. Leave the programs that are helping these desperate kids alone.

The president has said repeatedly that we need to fix the public school system, but if we fix public schools, then programs like this will phase out automatically. Once private and public schools reach a level playing field, programs that make private schools affordable will become obsolete. However, until then, don’t ruin others’ educational opportunities because you don’t share the ideology of the advocates of the program.

Making decisions about the best environment in which a child can learn that are shaped by politics and not concrete results is not only crippling to students, but absurd. Especially when the results have consistently shown that the kids are thriving in the educational environment.

Could someone please tell Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) that she may win this battle in Congress, but it’s the children in the District who will not only lose the war but also their best chance for an equal-opportunity education?

For more details on what’s going on with the Opportunity Scholarship Program follow this link.



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