Someone needs to explain how it is that this program was cut in the first place. I listened to a portion of the hearing where Dr. Wolf testified to the success of the program. I also read additional research/information and listened to an interview w/him. I just don’t get how our politicians (on both sides of the aisle- I just happen to agree w/the Republicans on this one) can continue to mess w/our children’s future in such a counterproductive and harmful way. It’s shameful. It really is. I am glad this program was reinstated and will continue in the DC area. It serves a minority population of over 99% that are all living below or around the national poverty level. Without this program and this opportunity, these students would be left to languish in substandard public schools like so many others. Get it together Washington. Get it together!
Article pulled from Educationnews.org on 4/12/11.
Univ. of Arkansas research Patrick Wolf’s study and John Boehner’s political savvy resulted in the renewal of the DC voucher program, writes Paul Peterson.
In an EducationNext article, Paul E. Peterson applauds U.S. Representative John A. Boehner (R-OH) for his efforts to restore the District of Columbia’s school voucher program. A provision included in the recent budget compromise bill will once again allow D.C parents to obtain vouchers and apply them towards tuition at a school of their choice. Two years ago, Congress passed a law that killed the program.
Peterson says that Boehner can credit his success to a study conducted by University of Arkansas Professor Patrick Wolf at the time when the abolition of the program was initially debated. Since the number of students who applied to receive vouchers exceeded the number of vouchers available, they had to be allocated by means of a lottery. The study compared educational outcomes of kids who won the lottery to those of kids who did not, and found that college enrollment among the former group was significantly higher than among the latter group.
“Just before this study was released, Obama signed into law a bill killing the program. Although government officials knew the study’s results at the time the president affixed his signature, the results were released to the public by the U.S. Department of Education only after the program had been killed.”
Outlining the speaker’s tactics, he compliments Boehner on exploiting the Obama Administration’s seeming unwillingness to turn vouchers into a wedge issue, to bring one of his longtime causes back to life, adding that Professor Wolf should feel proud for having contributed to this outcome.
“[P]olicy researchers can be pleased that their work can, if circumstances are correct, provide a Speaker with the instrument needed to recall even politically contested programs, like school vouchers, to life.”