Monday, April 6, 2009

Education in the Age of Obama

From the Wall Street Journal; this is Education in the Age Of Obama...

Voucher recipients were tested last spring. The scores were analyzed in the late summer and early fall, and in November preliminary results were presented to a team of advisers who work with the Education Department to produce the annual evaluation. Since Education officials are intimately involved in this process, they had to know what was in this evaluation even as Democrats passed (and Mr. Obama signed) language that ends the program after next year.

Opponents of school choice for poor children have long claimed they'd support vouchers if there was evidence that they work. While running for President last year, Mr. Obama told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that if he saw more proof that they were successful, he would "not allow my predisposition to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn . . . You do what works for the kids." Except, apparently, when what works is opposed by unions.

Mr. Duncan's office spurned our repeated calls and emails asking what and when he and his aides knew about these results. We do know the Administration prohibited anyone involved with the evaluation from discussing it publicly. You'd think we were talking about nuclear secrets, not about a taxpayer-funded pilot program. A reasonable conclusion is that Mr. Duncan's department didn't want proof of voucher success to interfere with Senator Dick Durbin's campaign to kill vouchers at the behest of the teachers unions.

The decision to let 1,700 poor kids get tossed from private schools is a moral disgrace. It also exposes the ugly politics that lies beneath union and liberal efforts across the country to undermine mayoral control, charter schools, vouchers or any reform that threatens their monopoly over public education dollars and jobs. The Sheldon Silver-Dick Durbin Democrats aren't worried that school choice doesn't work. They're worried that it does, and if Messrs. Obama and Duncan want to succeed as reformers they need to say so consistently.

This is what we get when the teacher's unions get in bed with democratic politicians. For the Obama administration, which prides itself on "data, not ideology" this is a shameless sop to the teacher's union's and unfortunately is probably a harbinger of what is to come with the Federal Governments involvement with GM and the UAW.

We have empirical proof of the success of school vouchers in providing opportunities for low-income students to escape the hell that is the public-school system which costs the taxpayer LESS than it does to put them in a failing public school, $7000 in vouchers vs. $14000 in a public school. This isn't change I can believe we can believe in, it's the same footsie game with the teachers unions that has been played for the last thirty years.

Also an excellent piece in the American by Jay Matthews is recommended to help stoke the fires of ire about this killing of a successful pilot program to please the unions.

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