Monday, June 15, 2009

Commissioner Parker Speaks Out on the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program

This week I was touched by the story of a single, low income, hard working, mother of three in D.C. whose eldest child, attends the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The program was created by congress in January 2004 as part of the District of Columbia School Choice Incentive Act of 2003. Under the program, her child along with 1,700 others, receive scholarships vouchers, worth up to $7,500 per child, which can be used to cover the costs of tuition, school fees, and transportation to a participating private school of their choose. This school choice is critical for low-income D.C. residents, particularly those whose children attend public schools, which according to some reports can run tax payers as much as $15,000 per child, and are in need of serious infrastructure improvement and or academic corrective action.

According to a recent report from the US Department of Education, over the programs brief history, there has been a statistically significant positive higher impact on reading test scores and a positive impact overall on parents' school satisfaction and safety. Now let me be perfectly clear here, this is not a democrat or republican thing; this is a right and wrong thing! $7,500 per student for better results or $15,000 per student to sit in crumbling schools; Humm, no brainer right! Yet, congress has chosen to discontinue a working, successful program, and return the 1,700 students back to one of the worse school systems in the US. This is not only shameful, it is clearly political.

1 comment:

  1. It is a shame to fail any child- we all lose as a society- I went to one of the best schools in Texas from K-9th and then when my parents divorced I went to one of the worst schools in Texas- It took me 20 years to overcome the educational barriers that cost me-
    Only now, do I truly understand what the difference in schools meant to my adult life- It is so sad to disrupt children attempting to their potential-
    Thank for posting- D