The Washington Post again takes partisan opponents of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program to task. This time it’s columnist George Will who documents the hypocrisy, writing:

Most Democrats favor a “public option” — a government health insurance program. They say there is insufficient competition among the 1,300 private providers of insurance, so people should not be dependent on those insurers. But tuition vouchers redeemable at private as well as public schools are a “private option” providing minimal competition with public schools. Government, with 89 percent of the pupils, dominates education grades K through 12. So, do Democrats favor vouchers to reduce Americans’ dependence on government education? Of course not.

For anyone still unconvinced that a single-payer (i.e. government-run) healthcare system is a good idea, try looking at the government-run schooling sector.

The average per-pupil expenditure in government-run schools nationwide is nearly $11,000 compared to average private school tuition that’s less than $8,600. In spite of a 20 percent funding difference, 35 percent more low-income private-school 8th graders score proficient in reading than their public-school counterparts on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. About 6 percent more low-income private-school 8th graders score proficient in math. Overall, a majority of private-school 8th graders are proficient in the basics compared to less than one-third of public-school students.

Meanwhile, less than two out of 10 D.C. public schools students are functionally literate in reading and math, and around half drop out (p. 3) in spite of spending $28,000 per pupil. In contrast, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship students perform two years ahead of their public-school peers in reading and about the same in math-for a quarter of the expense since tuition at the average Opportunity Scholarship school is $6,600 (pp. xxi and 15).

We tolerate this compelled government-run schooling sector. But how would we react to a mandatory system full of doctors who save only one out of three of their patients on the operating table or safely deliver one out of every three babies?

Scholarship programs are lifelines to students forced to remain in a system that fails them, and there’s no good reason to let politicians cut them.