Contribute
CONNECT:

research

Obama’s War On School Choice Continues

- September 3, 2013

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS FILED SUIT TO KEEP POOR LOUISIANA CHILDREN IN FAILING SCHOOLS

The Justice Department Has Filed Suit To Block Louisiana From Awarding Vouchers To Students In At Least 22 Districts Without A Court Order. "The Justice Department said Louisiana has given vouchers this school year to students in at least 22 districts remaining under desegregation orders. It's asking the court, starting with the 2014-15 school year, to permanently block the state from awarding vouchers in districts that are under desegregation orders, unless those districts seek court approval. Louisiana lawmakers approved a voucher program in 2008 for low-income New Orleans students who were in failing schools. The Louisiana Scholarship Program was later expanded statewide. It allows children in school districts graded C, D or F to receive public money to attend private schools." ("Justice Dept. Tries To Stop La. School Vouchers," The Associated Press, 8/25/13)

  • Approximately 86 Percent Of The Students In Louisiana's Voucher Program Came From Schools That Were Rated D Or F. "The number that should matter to federal officials is this: Roughly 86 percent of students in the voucher program came from schools that were rated D or F. Mr. White called ironic using rules to fight racism to keep students in failing schools; we think it appalling." (Editorial, "Justice Department Bids To Trap Poor, Black Children In Ineffective Schools," The Washington Post , 9/1/13)

The Voucher Program Does Not Divert Any Money From Public Schools. "The voucher program has been controversial since its inception last year, with multiple suits filed to block it. After the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in May that the state could not use the money it allots for each student in public schools, Gov. Bobby Jindal found about $40 million in public money elsewhere to cover the almost 8,000 2013-14 enrollees. (Danielle Dreilinger, "U.S. Government Sues To Block Vouchers In Some Louisiana School Systems," The Times-Picayune, 8/24/13)

The Washington Post , On The Justice Department's Actions: "A Misguided Suit That Would Block These Disadvantaged Students From Getting The Better Educational Opportunities They Are Due." "Nine of 10 Louisiana children who receive vouchers to attend private schools are black. All are poor and, if not for the state assistance, would be consigned to low-performing or failing schools with little chance of learning the skills they will need to succeed as adults. So it's bewildering, if not downright perverse, for the Obama administration to use the banner of civil rights to bring a misguided suit that would block these disadvantaged students from getting the better educational opportunities they are due." (Editorial, "Justice Department Bids To Trap Poor, Black Children In Ineffective Schools," The Washington Post , 9/1/13)

LOUISIANA IS NOT THE FIRST TIME OBAMA HAS TRIED TO LIMIT SCHOOL CHOICE FOR DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN

Throughout His Presidency, Obama Has Repeatedly Sought To Kill The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

The D.C Opportunity Scholarship Program Allows Low-Income District Of Columbia Children To Attend Private Schools. "House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) announced Monday that the Education Department has agreed to fully implement the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows children from low-income District families to use federal vouchers of up to $12,000 annually to attend private schools." (Editorial, "A Deal On School Vouchers That Helps D.C. Families," The Washington Post , 6/20/12)

In 2009, Obama Urged The Democrat Controlled Congress To End The Voucher Program. "At the Obama administration's urging, Congress agreed in 2009 to phase out the program. But it was revived last year as part of a budget deal with House Republicans." ("Obama Budget Proposal Includes No New Funding For DC Private-School Vouchers," The Associated Press , 2/14/12)

  • In March 2009, Democrats In Congress Voted To Cut Off Funding For The D.C. Program. "Congress voted in March to cut off funding after the 2009-10 academic year unless the entire program is reauthorized by lawmakers, a dim prospect in the Democrat-led body." (Bill Turque and Shailagh Murray, "Obama Offers D.C. Voucher Compromise," The Washington Post, 5/7/09)
     
  • The Washington Post : Obama Proposed Not Allowing New Students Into The D.C. Voucher Program "And Letting The Program Die By Attrition." "Mr. Obama has proposed letting the 1,700 students now in the program continue their schooling while admitting no new students and letting the program die by attrition." (Editorial, "Vouching For Vouchers," The Washington Post, 5/14/09)

Obama's FY 2013 Budget "[Requested] Zero Funding For The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program" Despite "A Majority Of D.C. Residents Favor[ing] It." "Mr. Obama's fiscal 2013 budget requests zero funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which allows children from low-income D.C. families to attend private schools with federal vouchers of up to $12,000 annually. It has proved popular and successful. More than 10,000 families have sought to participate since the program's start in 2004, and polls show a majority of D.C. residents favor it." (Editorial, "Who Will Rescue The D.C. Voucher Program This Time?" The Washington Post , 4/10/12)

  • "Mr. Obama's Latest Budget Request Did Not Seek Funds For The Program, Spurring Outcry From Republicans." (Adeshina Emmanuel, "Much-Debated Scholarship Program For D.C. Students Is Renewed," The New York Times' "The Caucus," 6/18/12)
     
  • The Washington Post: Obama's Decision Not To Fund The Program In His Budget Was In "Direct Contradiction To A Law He Signed Last Year." "As Mr. Boehner wrote on a blog Tuesday, it was President Obama who 'inexplicably' zeroed out funding for the program in his budget proposal, a decision in direct contradiction to a law he signed last year that authorized full funding for vouchers, along with monies for D.C. charter and traditional public schools. That legislation contains no cap on enrollment." (Editorial, "D.C. Children Left In The Lurch," The Washington Post , 5/22/12)

The Obama Administration Has Thrown Up Administrative Roadblocks To Hold Down Enrollment In The Program. "The drop in participants is a natural outgrowth of two unforgiving scheduling decisions. First, the Education Department prevented the program's administrator from accepting applications after an arbitrary date of March 31 of this year, shutting out anyone who came forward after that cutoff. Then, scholarship lotteries for the 2012-13 school year weren't allowed to take place until July, far later than many parents could wait to make decisions about where their kids would attend school in the fall. Nobody at the department can give straight answers as to why. In practical terms, what this means is that only 319 new students were offered scholarships, despite demand for many more." (Kevin P. Chavous, Op-ed, "A Second-Term Agenda For Obama: Stop Messing With School Vouchers In D.C.," The Washington Post , 11/9/12)

Obama Has Opposed The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program Despite Its Demonstrated Positive Results

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program Has Produced Graduation Rates Of 91 Percent - 20 Points Higher Than The Graduation Rate Of D.C. Students Who Did Not Participate In The Program. "These roadblocks are part of a long history of the administration's resolute opposition to the voucher program, from Education Secretary Arne Duncan rescinding 216 scholarships in 2009 to the department ignoring the positive results of a gold-standard study, conducted by its own Institute of Education Sciences, that found that D.C. voucher students graduate at a rate of 91 percent - more than 20 percentage points higher than those who sought a voucher but either didn't get one or didn't enroll in the program after being accepted. (Kevin P. Chavous, Op-Ed, "A Second-Term Agenda For Obama: Stop Messing With School Vouchers In D.C.," The Washington Post , 11/9/12)

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Helps Kids Living In Poverty Seek A Quality Education. "Applicants must show proof of residency. Participating families must also be food-stamp recipients or make no more than about $41,000 for a family of four - 185 percent of the poverty level." (Robert Samuels, "Parents Rush To Apply For D.C. Private School Vouchers," The Washington Post , 6/25/11)

DCOSP Scholarships Cost Thousands Less Than Per-Pupil Spending In DC. "Per-pupil spending in DCPS [D.C. Public Schools] now exceeds $17,600-more than twice the amount of the DCOSP. While the House and Senate reauthorization bills would increase the scholarships to $8,000 and $12,000 for elementary and secondary students, respectively, the vouchers would still be significantly less than per-pupil spending in DCPS." (Lindsey Burke, "Saving Money Through School Choice," The Heritage Foundation, 3/29/11)

The Washington Post: The Program Is "Enormously Popular With D.C. Residents," Boosts Graduation Rates, And Doesn't Drain Resources. "It has proved to be enormously popular with D.C. residents, with demand far outstripping the number of vouchers. Moreover, studies have shown its success in boosting graduation rates of its participants, and contrary to the fiction of its critics, it doesn't drain resources from public education. Giving parents a choice and improving public schools are not mutually exclusive." (Editorial, "A Deal On School Vouchers That Helps D.C. Families," The Washington Post , 6/20/12)

OBAMA MAY BE MORE CONCERNED WITH FOLLOWING THE MONEY THAN HELPING STRUGGLING STUDENTS

Since The 2008 Election Cycle, Teachers Unions Have Contributed $16.7 Million To Democrats, Representing 96 Percent Of Their Total Political Contributions. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 9/3/13)

Teachers Unions Vehemently Oppose The Louisiana And D.C. Voucher Programs

Louisiana Teachers Unions Sued The State To Stop The Voucher Program. "As expected, Louisiana's largest teachers association, some of its local chapters, and four individual public school teachers have filed two state lawsuits challenging the primary portions of the sweeping education overhaul that Gov. Bobby Jindal signed in April. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers argues on several fronts that the courts should strike down tenure and other personnel changes, along with a statewide program that will use the public school-financing formula to finance private school tuition grants." (Bill Barrow, "Teachers File State Lawsuits Challenging Gov. Jindal's Voucher, Tenure Laws," The Times-Picayune, 6/7/12)

  • The Louisiana Association Of Educators Threatened To Sue Individual Schools That Participated In The Louisiana Voucher Program. "A Louisiana teachers union is threatening private schools with legal action if they accept money from a new voucher program. The demand was sent a few weeks ago by the law firm representing the Louisiana Association of Educators and several other interests, and it argues the state-approved program is illegal because participating schools would be receiving an unconstitutional payment of public funds. The two-page letter further states if schools don't agree, then the law firm has "no alternative" than to take legal action." ("Louisiana Teachers Union Threatens To Sue Private Schools Over Voucher Program," Fox News, 8/6/12)

The Washington Post: Killing The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Is Exactly What The Teachers Unions Want. "The Obama administration closed the program to new students; children currently enrolled, while supposedly assured of getting vouchers until they graduate from high school, face uncertainty as the program's administrator pulls out. This is exactly what the program's chief antagonists, the teachers unions, want; the National Education Association lobbied fiercely against Mr. Lieberman's amendment." (Editorial, "Congress Must Act Soon To Reauthorize D.C. Scholarship Program," The Washington Post, 3/10/10)


Previous post

Obama’s Syria Resolution Fractures The Left

Next post

Obamanomics: Income Inequality, Part-Time Work, And Long-Term Joblessness
Republican National Committee

Connect With Us

Republican National Committee
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
News & Videos
  • 310 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
  • 202-863-8500

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com

By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive calls and SMS/MMS msgs, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from the Republican National Committee. Msg&data rates may apply. Terms & conditions/privacy policy apply 80810-info.com.

Paid for by the Republican National Committee.
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate's Committee. www.gop.com