Choice and its enemies in D.C.

Democrats will stop funding scholarships for low-income Washington, D.C. students in 2009, vows Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s representative in Congress. However, students who currently attend private schools with the vouchers may be allowed to continue.

D.C. council members are trying to block charter school expansion, writes the Washington Post. A proposed bill would require a 15-month planning period before a school can open, limit new schools to one campus and change the funding.

Many observers see it as the opening salvo in a bid to undermine the schools and their autonomy. Consider that the measure would take money away from a charter if student enrollment declined but not add funds if enrollment went up. Moreover, funding for public schools would stay unchanged — no matter how many of its students left.

“Students in schools approved by the public charter school board scored better — in all grades — on math and reading tests than those in public schools or in the charter schools sanctioned by the old Board of Education,” observes the Post.

About 30 percent of the district’s public school students attend a charter school.

Some low-performing charter schools in D.C. are closing. When will the low-performing non-charters close, asks The Quick and the Ed. About the time hell freezes over.

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  1. I thought those DC liberals supported choice.

  2. Richard Nieporent says:

    Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said this week that she is working on a plan to phase out the controversial D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the first in the country to provide federal money for vouchers. “We have to protect the children, who are the truly innocent victims here,” said Norton, who like many Democrats opposes vouchers as a threat to public school systems.

    Yes we wouldn’t want to do anything to harm the wonderful DC school system.

    What a hypocrite. Clearly she has no regard for the children since she is willing to sacrifice them on the altar of the NEA.

  3. Norton said she has warned fund officials that the program would be killed by Congress and that it was important to start telling families that the vouchers would not be continued indefinitely.

    She also said she has in the past week met with families receiving scholarships and learned that many of them were unaware of the funding situation.

    “They looked completely befuddled,” she said.

    I’ll bet they did. I’m glad I wasn’t there to see it.