Thursday, November 03, 2011

Why Are We Allowing Kids To Be Held Hostage By a Government Monopoly?

The third rail for the unions is, of course, vouchers, which they fight to the death.  Here's John Stossel with a response:

Do vouchers work? You bet they do. Just ask the low-income kids in Washington, D.C., who have participated in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. The U.S. Department of Education found that the voucher kids read better than their government-school counterparts.

So what did the politicians do? Expand the program? No.

Two years ago, President Obama killed it. Why?

"The president has concerns about ... talking large amounts of funding out of the system," then-press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Voucher families protested. One voucher student, Ronald Holassie, said, "President Barack Obama, you say that getting an education is a key to success, but why do you sit there and let my education and others be taken away?"

The program was reauthorized only after John Boehner became Speaker of the House and insisted on it.

Holassie was a guest on my Fox Business show last week. He says the difference between a government school and his private school was dramatic.

"In the public school system when I was in there, (there were) lots of fights. There were shootings, stabbings, and it was really unsafe -- drugs."

The Opportunity Scholarship didn't offer the full $20,000 that the district squanders on its public schools. It was worth just $7,000, but that was enough to get Ronald into a Catholic school.

"I was actually challenged academically," he said. "I remember when I was in the public school system, my teacher left in the middle of the year. I remember doing crossword puzzles and stuff like that. We weren't actually learning."

He says most of his government-school teachers acted like they didn't care. His mother, who's from Trinidad, was going to send him back to that country for an education because the schools there are better than American schools.

"She wasn't going to continue to just let this system fail me."

But he got the voucher and a good education, and now he's in college.

Despite the data showing that voucher kids are ahead in reading, the biggest teachers union in America, the NEA claims: "The D.C. voucher program has been a failure. It's yielded no evidence of positive impact on student achievement."

Holassie asks: "How is it a failure when the public school system is failing students? I don't understand that."

I don't understand it either. Vouchers aren't a perfect solution, but they are better than leaving every student a prisoner of a government monopoly. District government schools have only a 49 percent graduation rate. Ninety-one percent of the voucher students graduate.

Why would the union call that a failure? Because vouchers allow parents to make choices, and many parents would chose non-union, non-government-run schools. The school establishment can't abide this. Too much money and power are at stake.


Why Are We Allowing Kids To Be Held Hostage By a Government Monopoly?

By John Stossel

Published October 26, 2011



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