May 9 2012

"Inexcusable" ...That's What You Are...

Vicki E. Alger

Inexcusable.” That’s what presidential candidate Mitt Romney called President Obama’s latest attempt to kill the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.

The ten-year-old program awards need-based scholarships to eligible DC students to attend participating private schools of their parent’s choice. OSP scholarships are worth up to $8,000 for elementary and middle school, and up to $12,000 for high school.

Research by the President’s own “What Works Clearinghouse” found that OSP “students who were offered vouchers to attend private schools scored higher on reading tests compared to students who were not offered vouchers.  These gains were equal to three months of additional learning. Moreover, of the 11 studies to come out of [U.S. Department of Education] Institute for Education Sciences, the OSP is one of only three programs to show positive results, and showed by far the biggest achievement gains.”

The president shut that down, his party shut that down,” said Romney.

These are strong—and welcome—words from a candidate who, asTime School of Thought columnist Andrew Rotherham put it, hasn’t been “talking about education’s hard questions.”

With 67 percent of voters in swing states reporting that education is an “extremely important” election issue to them, both presidential candidates will need to bring their ‘A’ games when it comes to real reform.

President Obama seems convinced that the feds know best when it comes to education—in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary. To distinguish himself, Romney should start highlighting the success of local, parent-driven reforms instead.

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