March 10 2010
School Choice Under Siege in DC; Surges in States
Vicki E. Alger, Ph.D
While some DC politicians are doing their utmost to kill the Opportunity Scholarship Program, a growing number of state lawmakers are embracing school choice. Education Week reports, "The momentum in Florida to expand one of that state's voucher programs is a subtle but significant sign that such programs, which have been anathema to many Democrats, are beginning to win bipartisan support in a number of states." They include a new proposal in Illinois-home of President Obama, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and voucher-opponent-in-chief Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)-that would give vouchers to students in failing Chicago schools. A plan has also been introduced in New Jersey, as well as an expansion of Florida's choice programs. Currently, there are 18 school voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs nationwide serving nearly 180,000 students. Given such momentum, opposition to educational opportunity programs in DC and elsewhere will become increasingly difficult to defend.