Ideology trumps evidence

President Obama declared in an education speech last year that his administration would “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.” Unfortunately, writes Jay P. Greene in City Journal, “the test that seems to guide the Obama administration’s education priorities is not whether a policy works, but whether it serves a political constituency.”

Empirical evidence shows that D.C. vouchers work; that program should be expanded, not killed. The evidence also shows that Head Start is a long-running failure; that program should be wound down, not funded with new billions.

He suggests diverting a few hundred million dollars from Head Start to a reauthorized D.C. voucher program.

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  1. I was under the impression that the administration fought Senate opponents of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program and managed to extract the grandfathering of the current recipients through high school rather then a simple termination of the program, sorry kids back to WCPS for you.

    Jay was a trifle reticent on the subject when I brought it up previously and he’s not offered any evidence in the linked article that the legislation to end the voucher program came at the behest of the administration.

    I’m no fan of President Obama but I despise the rhetorical tactic of conclusion by implication. If Jay’s got evidence that the D.C. voucher program was killed by the president he ought to present it in the article.

  2. It’s a sin of omission, Allen. Obama could have actively protected the D.C. program but chose not to. He chose not to so as to not upset a key constituency – the teachers’ unions. Politically pragmatic, at least in the short term, – yes. Brave – no.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Anyone who is surprised ought to turn in his voter card.

  4. “not whether a policy works, but whether it serves a political constituency”

    From the view of a politician, if it serves a political constituency, it *is* working.


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