Commentary

Obama Takes the Easy Out: Leaves Thousands of DC Children Behind

As the Associated Press reports:

President Barack Obama wants to keep paying for private-school vouchers for students receiving them in the District of Columbia, an administration official said Wednesday.

Obama is proposing to spend $12.2 million for the 2010-2011 school year to continue the program for about 1,700 kids. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal has not been made public.

The president would like to continue the funding until all the students participating in the program graduate from high school. He would not let new students into the program, the official said.

See Reason.tv on Obama and the DC Voucher program and how Obama promised to support programs based on evidence and not politics. This makes it clear that for Obama teacher union politics will always win.

As Jay Greene points out:

On the one hand, this is a victory for the voucher advocates and shows that their efforts have been effective. On the other hand, this is a clever political move for Obama that allows him to kill the DC voucher program without paying the political price of denying low-income kids access to a program that the official evaluation has deemed beneficial. Just because he’s not ripping this opportunity out of the hands of the existing 1,700 students doesn’t mean that he’s not ripping it out of the hands of every future student who could benefit from it.

And my favorite picture from yesterday’s rally (also from Dr. Greene) from the hundreds of kids that are not grandfathered in to the successful voucher program:

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.