WaPo Ignores Hard Questions on DC Vouchers
On April 4, the Washington Post published a story by Maria Glod covering the release of a new Department of Education evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, which currently helps 1,700 low-income children attend private schools in the nation’s capital.
As the Post’s story accurately reports, the academic evaluation found that, after three years, voucher students were outperforming their peers who remained in public school in reading; specifically, by about four months of learning. Like previous evaluations, the new report also found that parents of voucher students were more satisfied with their child’s school.
Glod’s report fails to question how the Obama administration’s continued opposition to vouchers doesn’t square with their rhetoric about focusing on what works in education reform. Speaking to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce last month, President Obama said:
Secretary Duncan will use only one test when deciding what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars: It’s not whether an idea is liberal or conservative, but whether it works.
Last spring, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked Obama about his position on school vouchers. The paper reported that he said: “If there was any argument for vouchers, it was ‘Let’s see if the experiment works.’ And if it does, whatever my preconception, you do what’s best for kids.”
Now that the voucher program has proven to improve reading test scores, will the administration support what’s doing best for kids by reauthorizing and expanding it to allow more disadvantaged students to participate? If not, what does the administration mean by supporting programs that ‘work’?
The Washington Post and other papers need to ask the administration these tough questions.