Some of Sasha and Malia Obama’s classmates at Sidwell Friends may lose their scholarships — unless President Obama stands up to congressional Democrats who are trying to kill school vouchers in D.C. It’s a double standard, writes William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal: Private school is OK for liberal Democrats’ children but not for low-income minority kids.
Like the Obama girls, Sarah and James (Parker) attend the Sidwell Friends School in our nation’s capital. Unlike the Obama girls, they could not afford the school without the $7,500 voucher they receive from the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program. Unfortunately, a spending bill the Senate takes up this week includes a poison pill that would kill this program — and with it perhaps the Parker children’s hopes for a Sidwell diploma.
Known as the “Durbin language” after the Illinois Democrat who came up with it last year, the provision mandates that the scholarship program ends after the next school year unless Congress reauthorizes it and the District of Columbia approves. The beauty of this language is that it allows opponents to kill the program simply by doing nothing. Just the sort of sneaky maneuver that’s so handy when you don’t want inner-city moms and dads to catch on that you are cutting one of their lifelines.
If the Parker children can’t afford Sidwell, their district-run choice is Roosevelt High, where most students fail to reach proficiency in reading or math.
The Dems are paying off the the teachers unions by destroying the voucher option, editorializes the Washington Post.
Why wouldn’t Congress want to get the results of a carefully calibrated scientific study before pulling the plug on a program that has proved to be enormously popular? Could the real fear be that school vouchers might actually be shown to be effective in leveling the academic playing field?
If D.C. public schools aren’t good enough for the Obama children — or for the children of Congress members — poor kids shouldn’t be trapped in the system, argues the Chicago Tribune.