Stand Together for School Choice
Yesterday, Andrew J. Coulson — director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom — wrote in the Washington Examiner:
Thousands rallied in DC earlier this month to save a federal program that helps low-income families afford private schooling. On the same day, President Obama signaled that he opposes school vouchers, but will seek funding so that students already attending private schools may continue to do so through the end of high school. When they’ve graduated, the voucher program would die. That isn’t good enough.
Not only is it not good enough, it’s disgraceful to deny children the freedom to escape failing public schools so that they have a real chance at a better life. Every day that children are denied this freedom, the nation’s future grows dimmer.
Coulson suggests, however, that rather than relying on the fickle political whims of Congress and the president, the District of Columbia should take matters into its own hands:
But there is another option: The District of Columbia can create its own scholarship program.
Can DC afford it? Average tuition at voucher-accepting schools is about $6,600, according to a federal study released last month. By contrast, the city is currently spending about $1.3 billion on k-12 education, for fewer than 49,000 students.
That works out to well over $26,000 per pupil — comparable to tuition at the prestigious Sidwell Friends school to which the president sends his own daughters, Sasha and Malia. So DC could easily offer a voucher even larger than the one currently provided by the federal government.
I should reiterate here that tuition tax credit programs can be structured so that they actually save taxpayer money — providing a fiscally sound and sustainable alternative to the crippling system in which so many children are currently trapped, both in our nation’s capital and right here in St. Louis.
Anybody who’s skeptical about the wisdom of school choice should take a few minutes to watch this video of the rally to save D.C.’s scholarship program:
These children are our future, but the political and public education establishments are fighting harder every day to leave them behind.