D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty supports President Obama’s disingenuous ploy to allow students already enrolled in the D.C. voucher program to continue until they graduate, so long as no new vouchers are provided to their younger siblings (“D.C. willing to discuss extending voucher plan,” Metro, Friday). D.C. spent $15,798 per public school student in 2007, and yet only 12 percent of eighth graders are proficient in reading and only 8 percent are proficient in math, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
The D.C. voucher program provided scholarships of up to $7,500 (less than 50 percent of public school spending) for inner-city students to attend private schools. The Obama budget provides trillions of dollars for dubious make-work projects and middle-class entitlements like the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but it supports dysfunctional education bureaucracies instead of quality education in this so-called era of change.
Albert Shanker, former president of the American Federation of Teachers, once remarked: “It’s time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody’s role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It’s no surprise that our school system doesn’t improve. It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy.”
It’s time to admit that discussing the voucher program isn’t the same as extending the voucher program.
RALPH W. CONNER
Local legislation manager
The Heartland Institute