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Obama Offers D.C. Voucher Program Extension for Existing Students

Updated 4:16 p.m.
By Shailagh Murray
President Obama will seek to extend the controversial D.C. school voucher program until all 1,716 participants have graduated from high school, although no new students will be accepted, according to an administration official who has reviewed budget details scheduled for release tomorrow.

The budget documents, which expand on the fiscal 2010 blueprint that Congress approved last month by outlining Obama's priorities in detail, would provide $12.2 million for the Opportunity Scholarship Program for the 2009-2010 school year. The new language also would revise current law that makes further funding for existing students contingent on Congress's reauthorization of the program beyond its current June 2010 expiration date. Under the Obama proposal, further congressional action would not be necessary, and current students would automatically receive grants until they finish school.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan had told reporters that it didn't make sense "to take kids out of a school where they're happy and safe and satisfied and learning," but Democrats effectively terminated the program by requiring its reauthorization. Obama must now convince Democratic lawmakers to endorse a gradual phase out by continuing to include grant funding in future appropriation bills.

The voucher program was created in 2003 and is a Republican favorite, providing low-income students with a maximum $7,500 grant to attend a private or parochial school. All students come from households with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty line, and 8,000 students entered a lottery to participate. But liberal education groups, including the National Education Association, have argued that the experimental program is poorly administered and that voucher recipients have not performed measurably better in their new schools.

In a March 6, 2009 letter to Obama, the NEA president Dennis Van Roekel called the D.C. program "an ongoing threat to public education in the District of Columbia" and urged Obama to "use your voice to help eliminate this threat" by opposing "any efforts to extend this ineffective program."

The Department of Education recently issued a three-year analysis of student achievement under the program that showed limited gains in reading and no significant progress in math. But the White House concluded that moving the children back to public schools amounted to an unnecessary disruption.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who has been vocal advocate for the voucher program, praised the move but said it did not go far enough.

"We think it's a worthwhile program," he said. "We should continue. If it's good
enough for these kids, why shouldn't we allow others to get out of failing schools?"

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 6, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Education  
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Comments

The question is NOT is Obama for or against vouchers for DC students. The federal government does not provide school vouchers for a state or school district, so why should it provide them for DC?? Let DC schools be responsible for DC kids - and make them do a better job of providing a good education for all DC kids. I taught school in DC for 20 years so and I think that ALL kids in DC deserve the same chance at a good education.

Posted by: mmlee24986 | May 8, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"How nice....Obama wants the voucher program to continue for those already in the program (including those enrolled at his daughters private school), but for all others it will no longer be available. He is such a hypocrite.
...

Posted by: Keeptrying | May 7, 2009 2:56 PM "


Um, no. The voucher program does not apply to the Obama children, so that's not even a valid argument.

To answer your other point, the program is being discontinued because of the reasons Robert Brannum listed.

If it's not working, why continue it? Why not work to improve the schools that are failing (and fix the issues causing their failures)?

I think this could have been a useful program--on a limited basis--but only if the issues of the failing schools were addressed. Obviously that didn't happen.

Posted by: owl1 | May 8, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

How nice....Obama wants the voucher program to continue for those already in the program (including those enrolled at his daughters private school), but for all others it will no longer be available. He is such a hypocrite.

The cost of the voucher program per student is $7500 whereas the cost of public school education per student is $15,000. Needless to say Obama is not concerned about taxpayer's money he is beholden to the union. A union whose main concern is not the welfare of the student but of the almighty dollar that allows them to manipulate the politicians and their agenda....it is about power. And they were very generous to Obama....so it is pay back time.

The voucher program works....and why shouldn't a parent be able to choose a school where their child will receive a good education in a safe environment?

It's a win win situation for us taxpayers. Better educated citizens at a lower cost.

Posted by: Keeptrying | May 7, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

As founder of Children's Scholarship Fund Baltimore I speak from experience. Parents know best what form of schooling educates their children well. I am trying to maintain objectivity with the Obama White House with all the "change" but find this decision a political hack job on all kids in impoverished school districts. Obama's decision to cut the program from here on surely marks him as a back room politician than what he painted himself in the campaign - someone for change, someone to fight the antics of the beltway crowd, someone who would be non partisan. He is not a truth teller. The families who dared to hope for a resolve for quality education for their children have now been "changed" by indifference and arrogance. The people most needy are being lied to by an administration who puts their ideology first rather than listening to the voice of the very people they serve! The question is: why wouldn't the Obama administration champion a successful program which graduates learned students? Can Obama answer this for all the parents waiting in line for a voucher for their children. I hope they are watching and using their power at the polls next election. Only, we the people, can make change a reality - vote for those who listen to the voices who cry for justice and mercy. "But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Posted by: SFDfromBaltimore | May 7, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what's more disturbing here:

-The fact that vouchers programs are DONE, regardless of Obama grandfathering the currently children under the program. Doesn't anyone understand, no one can use vouchers anymore? This is a PR manuevuer. It's about the teacher's unions, that's all.

-How some posters are calling on Obama to do something about public schools. This starts locally, not by the president. Which leads to...

-Why so much government dependence? "Obama needs to do this. Obama needs to do that." How about you take responsibility for yourself and family. Oh my, I must be EVIL because I mentioned taking responsibility for yourself. This is 2009 and we are suppose to be dependent on the government, right? After all, they look out for us/sarc.

-The one-sided reporting from WaPo. Actually, I'm not shocked. Soon this paper, along with others, are going to tow the line (screw the public) with the current administration, because these papers are going to be the next in line with their hands held out for a bailout. Then the "papers" will become instruments of the state.

Posted by: miltwnow | May 7, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama’s compromise is an outrageous solution. His proposal to “grandfather” those already in the program will continue the program for at least 10 more years because it will allow those already in the program ( over 1,700, most in grades 2-8) to CONTINUE receiving money until they graduate from High School! I think a more reasonable compromise is to continue funding for all for another one or two years at most. This must END! The sooner the better. This program is rotten in principle. Let this money go to improving DC's Public School instead.

Posted by: slowe111 | May 7, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Typical Democrat crap. A program that works, so we have to shut it down. Keep the population ignorant. Shades of "1984" How much other hogwash are we going to have to hold our noses and swallow over the next 3 years before the population wakes up to this Stalinist state the Dems want to foist on us?

Posted by: ssmorehouse | May 7, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

By the way, here's a paragraph from the DOE report on this program:

"After 3 years, there was a statistically significant positive impact on reading test
scores, but not math test scores. Overall, those offered a scholarship were performing
at statistically higher levels in reading equivalent to 3.1 months of additional
learning but at similar levels in math compared to students not offered a scholarship. Analysis in prior years indicated no significant impacts overall on either reading or math achievement."

Murray condenses this into "student achievement under the program that showed limited gains in reading and no significant progress in math," strongly implying the program has been a failure. This interpretation appears unsupported by the paragraph quoted above.

Posted by: orange2299 | May 6, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Obviously this should be an issue for local government, but the federal government has treated DC as its own private fiefdom for a long time and old habits die hard.

I think most people would agree that what's best is a good, successful public school program. The question is what to do for parents who feel that the DC public schools don't quite measure up, and I won't claim to know the answer, though it's clear the parents who showed up at the rally have a strong opinion on the topic.

The idea of the government giving money to private/religious schools may seem odd at first, but then again, the government already gives out scholarships that are valid at private/religious colleges, and that seems acceptable. So if there's a problem with the voucher program, that isn't it. In my view the main issue is whether this seriously harms the public school system, and I'm not sure how that can be measured.

Posted by: orange2299 | May 6, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats' opposition to school choice is possibly the best illustration that the party is not interested in the welfare of those it claims to represent, but rather in satisfying the various voter blocs and special interests that supply it votes and campaign money. Nothing would do more to lift people out of poverty than forcing our wretched public schools to compete with private institutions for students and public funds. Nothing. But of course that terrifies public school employees, and they vote. So poor kids will stay in wretched schools.

Posted by: bpayne1 | May 6, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

There are kids graduating from these private schools and didnt learn nothing different if they had at a public school.

Posted by: Sincear202 | May 6, 2009 3:26 PM
-----------------------

This post speaks volumes.

Posted by: BigBubba1 | May 6, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

The District's voucher program did not work, is not supported by the vast majority of District residents, and it should be ended.


Robert Vinson Brannum
Chairman, 5th District Citizens' Advisory Council, Inc. - www.5dcac.org
President, Bloomingdale Civic Association, Inc.
1st Vice-President DC Federation of Civic Associations, Inc. - www.dcfca.org
Chairman, Education Committee, DC Federation of Civic Associations, Inc.
Chairman, City Planning and Economic Development Committee, DC Federation of Civic Associations, Inc.
Vice President, Ward 5 Council on Education

rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | May 6, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Georgetown. Boston College. Notre Dame. Holy Cross. Loyola. St. Joseph's. All Catholic schools, all with sterling academic reputations.

Ask any graduate of any of these schools if they were ever subjected to religious indoctrination. They'll tell you, no. And they graduate plenty of non-Catholics. (Matter of fact, many alumni are concerned these schools aren't Catholic enough.)

The Catholic school bit is just demogoguery to obscure the fact that public schools (with a big assist from teachers' unions) fail in most big cities.

I'm glad President Obama is at least letting kids in the program to finish it out. His career got a big assist when he got a scholarship to Punahou (which is a FABULOUS private school, by the way; when I saw it, I thought it was Univ. of Hawaii). There's no denying the Dems are in the pockets of the teachers' union. They only want to raise teachers' salaries, whether it helps education or not (and paying the same teachers more money doesn't enhance the classroom a whit).

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 6, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I am very disappointed with the decision to continue supporting school vouchers in Washington, DC. School vouchers were a bad idea, are a bad idea and should be ended ASAP. Any funds should be routed to improving the Public School System. Students transfer schools all the time and this is NOT a good enough reason to continue this, unsuccessful, and wasteful program.

Posted by: slowe111 | May 6, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Great article. Wash. Post at its best!

"... that it didn't make sense "to take kids out of a school where they're happy and safe and satisfied and learning ...""

Well, I agree with the Sec of Education.

Especially since the vouchers are for $7,00 and it costs $26,555 per pupil for a public education in DC.

I mean, even if the kids do the same for 1/4 the cost ... and $26K buys a pretty good private college yearly tuition also.

Actually years ago I used to walk by a DC elementary school on my way to work, and some really nice cars were in the lot, including a nice Mercedes-Benz. Just an observation.

Tough choice for Obama. Keep the NEA happy or screw black kids (again). So much for putting kids first. Got to keep those teachers in their Mercedes-Benzs'.

Posted by: oracle2world | May 6, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Please do not use the anonymity this forum offers as an excuse for meanness, rudeness and incivility.

Agree or disagree with Ms. Lewis she deserves none of the vitriol or condescension that she has received.

Thank you Ms. Lewis for showing the gumption to fully participate in this debate without hiding behind the shadows as the rest of us (myself included) have done.

Posted by: cato361 | May 6, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Catholic Schools teach that homosexuality is a sin. They teach that homosexuals should be treated with "human dignity" that therefore slurs, discrimination, and violence against them are wrong, but that they are sinners and doing something wrong all the same. They also teach alarmingly misleading facts about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.

Agree with it or disagree with it they are religious positions. And there is no escaping that public funding of religious schools amounts to public funding of teaching specific religious doctrines. Which is only a problem if you happen to believe that governments should not be funding churches or religious schools, or getting into the business of choosing acceptable and unacceptable relious views to fund.

In fairness this is an infinitessimially small part of their mission which otherwise is about helping the poor and the downtrodden, opposing war and torture and the many other laudable aspects of Catholic Social Teaching. Please do not misunderstand me. I respect, admire, and applaud SO MUCH that Catholic education offers.

The earlier poster is right, many Catholic schools offer a world - class education.

P.S every child regardless of their religious background IS required to take religion classes all four years. The religion classes are not trying to convert the protestant kids but make no mistake preserving a "Catholic Identity" for the Catholic kids is a CORE mission of Catholic schools. There is nothing insidious, or wrong, or even bad about this.

It just shouldn't be done with public dollars.

Restrict the funding to non-religious schools and I will join you. Clearly the majority of opponents in the teachers unions oppose this for far more self interested reasons... that does not mean the program should be re-authoroized in its current form.

Posted by: cato361 | May 6, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

There are not many Catholic schools left in DC that participate.

http://www.washingtonscholarshipfund.org/PDF/schoollist.pdf

Posted by: wendy_lewis2 | May 6, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

In a March 6, 2009 letter to Obama, the NEA president Dennis Van Roekel called the D.C. program "an ongoing threat to public education in the District of Columbia" and urged Obama to "use your voice to help eliminate this threat" by opposing "any efforts to extend this ineffective program."
-------------------------------------------
The NEA is a threat to public education!!!
I think all kids rate the education provided to obama's kids!

Posted by: thornegp | May 6, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I am aware that this is a Republican backed program.

What Republicancan take charge of the party?
Michael Steel?.....I don't think so
I am waiting on
Newt Gingrich, but how long do you want me to wait?

Michelle Rhee has her hands full and I wish her Gods speed!

I never said I would stop fighting for the program. I have a kindergarten that I have to figure out what to do with!

The public school in my neighborhood is so bad. I would rather quit my job and home school them before I send them.

I am saddened that you are saddened by me. I am not going to stop until something is done about DCPS.

you stated you wennt to the rally, did you not hear the young man when he spoke?

Out of the mouth of Babes......

I will fight until I can no longer fight!

Posted by: wendy_lewis2 | May 6, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree that this is up to the gov't. not the president, I also believe that all the children get vouchers or none of them do. Why is it only a select few???

Posted by: highwaybluesoccer | May 6, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Typical Democrats - they don't care about the kids - only about the teacher's unions that support Democratic candidates.

The lady that wrote Catholic schools force their religion on their students has no idea what she is talking about. That's like saying Episcopalian schools force their religion on kids, which they don't. This is just anti-catholic bias someone is throwing out who knows nothing. The catholic school education is one of the best in the world and parents know it - even if they aren't catholic.

Public schools in the district are a joke. They are on a third-world level. Obama and Clinton sent their kids to Sidwell Friends. Too bad the Dems are taking the chance away from other district parents. To be honest, again, this is just par for the course in the district. Bad taxes, bad crime, crummy schools, real estate tax corruption, etc., etc.

Posted by: steven7753 | May 6, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the repost...

I wanted to add that several Archdiocesan Middle Schools closed last year and have re-opened as secular Charter Schools and are now entirely funded... forever. If communities of dedicated teachers, students and familys can thrive as secular versions of themselves why not do that?

Again I sympathize with students who want to and are able to gain admission to a school like Washington International School which does offer something unique and unlikely to be found in public schools either regular or charter.

Look at the big supporters of the voucher school program in DC. The Archdiocese of Washington is a HUGE promoter because their schools are suffering from declining enrollment and tuition. So while they are concerned about students receiving a good education the A.O.W. is VERY concerned about being able to keep its schools open. Their long term goal has much more to do with permanmently maintaining this portion of their ministry at public expense than it has to do with offering a quality education.

Furthermore, there is ZERO oversight for the Catholic Schools. They are not required to offer special education for students who need it (and many many students do need the sort of extra help that the Catholic Schools are ill-equipped to offer.) A student can fall through the cracks at a Catholic School just as easily as any other.

Again, expand choice, offer vouchers and charter schools but make sure schools have oversight, that they are required to offer special education accomodations, and keep the public OUT of the business of funding religious groups that are transparently lining up at the public trough to keep themselves afloat after the offerings on Sunday have dwindled too extensively.

Posted by: cato361 | May 6, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I think that some of the people who commented on this article are ridiculous. My child & brothers attend a school and though they dont receive vouchers, some children at their schools do. This a great program and it sucks that they are cutting it. Its not about Christians schools, or Catholic schools, its about sending your children to private institution and receiving a better education. Not all schools are run correctly but there are more good than bad. Taking taxes payers dollars to help poor children get educated is far better than some of these programs the city offers. DC public schools need to work on there education program and pay these teachers more money to care about these kids. Underpaid teachers = someone who is not going to work as hard to teacher. Why send your child to a school where children dont want to learn, rather than send these children who want to learn to an institution thats willing to teacher them.

Posted by: balqism | May 6, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON POST

WHY ARE ALL OF THE POSTS ON THE SUBMIT PAGE NOT SHOWING UP ON THE COMMENTS UNDER THE COLUMN WHEN YOU GO TO IT FROM THE MAIN PAGE?

WHERE ARE MY COMMENTS???

NOTHING OFFENSIVE IN ANY OF THEM, UNLESS YOU ARE A LIBERAL MISLEADING AUTHOR OF STORIES LIKE THIS ONE.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | May 6, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

All the more reason why D. C. needs to be granted statehood. DC does not need Congress or the president meddling in its affairs. If more money were invested in getting and keeping top-notch teachers and in providing more resources for schools, children could very well excel in the local public schools, too. Stick to the nation's problems, President Obama.

Posted by: RU_4Real | May 6, 2009 3:20 PM

__________________

The graduation for blacks is around 50% nationwide and the majority of those students live in states. There is a sub culture within black culture which does not value education and destroys opportunity even for those who want to excel.

Vouchers are a great idea to get those students who want to succeed into a safe learning environment but statehood for D C will not change black culture.

Posted by: alstl | May 6, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA IS BACKING NOTHING.

HE IS CANCELLING THE VOUCHER PROGRAM.

Sorry to the readers who can't see through this misleading story.

Sorry to the Children that Obama is shutting out of this program, that would have been eligible starting next year.

A successfull Program being shut down by Obama and the Liberal Teachers Unions, that have helped Poor African American Students receive better educations.

The Washington Post should be ashamed.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | May 6, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

am so very happy! I am a parent and just came back from the rally!
I am going to be able to give my kids a great sducation!
Thank You President OBAMA !!!

YES WE CAN!!!

Posted by: wendy_lewis2 | May 6, 2009 2:57 PM

NO Your NOt Wendy Lewis. Obama is CANCELLING THE PROGRAM, so that no one else other than those currently in it, will ever have a chance. So you and your fellow parents can start saying NO YOU CAN'T to all the other children that would have been eligilbe for this program next year.

Obama is CANCELLING the Program.

Cant any of you idiots see this fact.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | May 6, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I also just returned from the rally. The students assembled were almost without exception from religious schools.

Please explain to me how using public tax dollars to teach kids how to be good Catholics (which is central to parochial schools' mission, not ancillary) is not government sponsored religion?

Would you all feel the same way if kids used public tax dollars to go to a babtist school that taught that the earth was 6000 years old, the bible is the literal world of God, and that people who disagree are going to hell?

Would you feel the same way if kids used the voucher to go to a Muslim school using Saudi texts with less than kind things to say for Jews and Christians?

The point is that as long as public dollars can go to religious schools we are left with funding any and all religious educators that come, or with having government pick and choose the religions that it is comfortable subsiziding. Neither option sounds very appealing.

Students should have choice. Add to the Charter Schools. Continue this program with the caveat that the private school does not endorse a religion. This is not an either/or decision about whether students should get to choose were they go to school. The decision is whether or not DC taxpayers are going to expand the coffers of an ailing Archdiocese of Washingtion and the world view that EVERY student is taught in religion classes.

Let's expand kid's choice and keep religion for Sundays. If we do that then I will join you all on the barricades for school choice. Before that let's end this mistake while there are portions of the first amendment yet uncharred.

Posted by: cato361 | May 6, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama proposes extending what he is STILL CANCELLING.

A Program that works for the poor African American Children in Washington, and is proven to work, is STILL BEING CANCELLED BY BARACK OBAMA.

Sorry to all the future students that would have benfited a better education by the Voucher Program, that is now being CANCELLED by the Liberal Extremists.

And you thought they were working for your benefit. Guess not.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | May 6, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm very delighted Obama is unwilling to throw these competent youngsters under the Democratic ideological bus (a bus piloted perversely by retrogressive teachers' unions).

Now, if only Rhee will implement a serious discipline policy for students, then those young people committed to learning who do not avail themselves of the charter option will at least have a chance at obtaining a reasonable education!

But Democrats are hardly known for discipline...in the classroom or in the Congress. Wishing it was different.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | May 6, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I am telling you all the program is no better than the public schools. If your child is an exceptional student at a public or private school, he or she will goto college regardless.

There are kids graduating from these private schools and didnt learn nothing different if they had at a public school.

We are talking 7500 a year for students to attend a private school which is really unconstitutional. Also, the fact that there is a lottery system proves that its unfair.

Public schools in DC need only to be redesigned and students to need to either be bused to these schools or parents drive them there. The point I am making is that......if you put kids in postive learning environment around a diverse class of students and faculty;;;; they will succeed. For example, Wilson High school is tenley town, a postive environment, and the kids there usually do well on test and get good grades. And its, diverse.

Jeffereson Jr., also is located in Se/SW near the federal part of the city and its graduation rates and test scores are pretty good. Banneker High school, across from Howard University, in a diverse community,,,,, if you live this area, Banneker is a highly respected school.

Do you all see what I am attempting to convey?

Posted by: Sincear202 | May 6, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I also just returned from the rally. The students assembled were almost without exception from religious schools.

Please explain to me how using public tax dollars to teach kids how to be good Catholics (which is central to parochial schools' mission, not ancillary) is not government sponsored religion?

Would you all feel the same way if kids used public tax dollars to go to a babtist school that taught that the earth was 6000 years old, the bible is the literal world of God, and that people who disagree are going to hell?

Would you feel the same way if kids used the voucher to go to a Muslim school using Saudi texts with less than kind things to say for Jews and Christians?

The point is that as long as public dollars can go to religious schools we are left with funding any and all religious educators that come, or with having government pick and choose the religions that it is comfortable subsiziding. Neither option sounds very appealing.

Students should have choice. Add to the Charter Schools. Continue this program with the caveat that the private school does not endorse a religion. This is not an either/or decision about whether students should get to choose were they go to school. The decision is whether or not DC taxpayers are going to expand the coffers of an ailing Archdiocese of Washingtion and the world view that EVERY student is taught in religion classes.

Let's expand kid's choice and keep religion for Sundays. If we do that then I will join you all on the barricades for school choice. Before that let's end this mistake while there are portions of the first amendment yet uncharred.

Posted by: cato361 | May 6, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

All the more reason why D. C. needs to be granted statehood. DC does not need Congress or the president meddling in its affairs. If more money were invested in getting and keeping top-notch teachers and in providing more resources for schools, children could very well excel in the local public schools, too. Stick to the nation's problems, President Obama.

Posted by: RU_4Real | May 6, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

It saddens me that the posting by Wendy Lewis, apparently is a parent who just attended the rally and is so happy that Obama is allowing her child to graduate from a voucher school but no future children will have that option. Ms. Lewis should be dismayed that other children will not be offered this better education but instead she is only happy for herself and her child. Plus she rewards Obama for this bone that he threw to the citizens of Washington just so they would shut the hell up. He is no more in favor of "Yes we can" than the man in the moon. He wants the "no we can't vote" to keep him and other Democrats in power. Ms. Lewis, please don't stop protesting for better schools for just your child. This should just be the first rally of more rallies to help all children get a better education and break the NEA union strangle-hold on our schools nationwide. Then people can truthfully say, "Yes, we ALL can". Also, Ms. Lewis please be aware that the voucher option was a Republican idea and plan which the Democrats are taking credit for. The Democrats no more want voucher schools than they wanted an educated population.

Posted by: curious3 | May 6, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile Obama isn't about to send his kids to a public school in Washington D C.

Posted by: alstl | May 6, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I had to post again !
I am a parent with children in this program. My kids were never tested to see the strides the were making! Only a select few were tested. I welcome anyone to test my kids. My daughter reads on a High school level. She read ALL the Twilight books in 2 weeks ! LOL!

But seriously,
MY kids are very intelligent! I am still to be their first teacher and guide them the best way I can. I needed reinforcements(teachers) that care and are sincere in their field. I could NEVER be a teacher in todays world! You are teacher, parent, pyschologist, doctor, etc. all in one person.

I want my kids to be able to get an education. And with the education comes a higher pay check so they won't need a program like this for their kids, but maybe others can use it!

Posted by: wendy_lewis2 | May 6, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the NEA on this. I have had young relatives attend these schools and those kids came out that school at or below their required level. Most of these schools and I wont names are just robbing taxpayers as they are accepting these kids and passing them just to make a buck.

Heck,

On my nephews graduated from Archbisop Carroll and he can barely read and comprehend anything. He took a college placement test and faild basic english and math tests. Therefore, I ask...... why and how did he even graduated.

Mr. President and NEA President this program is no better than public schools.

The problem with the PUblic school system is that is poorly funded and the buildings are in terrible shape. Its important to note that public schools are only as good as the teachers and administrators who control them. And, the class sizes and physical location of these schools need to change..e.g. we are all aware the most of DC schools are under serve or violent areas of the city....... it would be in Rhees and the city best interest, that dc build better high schools and place them in better areas of the city or in revitalize areas where these kids can travel completely out of their environment.

There also need to be more diversification in teachers...... we need more foreign or caucasion teachers in these schools as well.

Posted by: Sincear202 | May 6, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama proposes extending what he is cancelling.

A Program that works for the poor African American Children in Washington, and is proven to work, is being cancelled by Barack Obama.

Sorry to all the future that would have benfited with a better education by the Voucher Program, that is now being cancelled by the Liberal Extremist Democrats.

And you thought they were working for your benefit Washington Residents. Clearly not.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | May 6, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama's afraid these kids would grow up to realize they don't have to resign themselves to a life of welfare, then the Dems would lose their votes. god forbid that ever happened. for the record, Republicans suck too. purge the corruption, vote 3rd party. i don't care which one.

Posted by: millionea7 | May 6, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I hope that President Obama and Secretary Duncan will SERIOUSLY look at the debacle that is called DC Public Schools, give input to the mayor and somehow have real, experienced, collaborative, dedicated leadership put at the helm of DC Public Schools. President Obama said that education is the great equalizer that provided both him and the First Lady with their opportunities. I hope and pray he gets those same opportunities for DC children. I implore him to look closely at what is going on, to consider how awfully things are being run and not to fall for the glib speeches fenty tends to give. This is now President Obama and the First Lady's community. Please look at how fenty and his choice for chancellor are spitting on the schools, the children and their parents, the teachers and anyone else who fails to agree with them.

Posted by: southyrndiva | May 6, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

if this works for the children ok.political payback no. find the $$$ by getting us out of the enemy countries we support with $$$ and our lives

Posted by: pofinpa | May 6, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I am so very happy! I am a parent and just came back from the rally!
I am going to be able to give my kids a great sducation!
Thank You President OBAMA !!!

YES WE CAN!!!

Posted by: wendy_lewis2 | May 6, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Time to spend federal tax money only on public education.

Posted by: peterdc

--

LOL! Do you have any idea how much of MY tax dollars are wasted on the public schools in DC? Any idea? Do you have any idea what results I have gotten from MY funding those failed Gov. run public schools. Any idea? No, you have no idea.

Posted by: FraudObama | May 6, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm willing to bet that most of the parents of the kids in the voucher program voted for Obama. Maybe now they'll understand that Obama and the Democratic party have a vested interest in keeping people uneducated and stupid. After all, if kids are taught to be analytical and have the ability to think for themselves, they won't grow up to be mindless Democratic supporters (or Republication supporters, which for all practical purposes is as corrupt as the Democratic party at this point).

For all of you who voted for Obama, don't feign surprise at his move to shut down the voucher program. He clearly said he did not support vouchers during the presidential debates. Start paying attention.

Furthermore, voucher programs DO work. Why doesn't the WAPO interview students who are actually in the program and get their side of the story? Because the WAPO is nothing more than an extension of the Democratic Party and would never publish anything that goes against their agenda.

Wake up people before it's too late!

Posted by: liberals_suck | May 6, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The Obama and his Democrats seriously owe teachers unions. How is he going to repay them for their support? How can the Democrats seriously support a program that gives promising kids in DC a chance at getting a good education? They can't. The teachers unions will be pleased, but the youngsters will have to return to DC public schools. We will then know who controls the Obamatrons.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | May 6, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with the Teacher's Union. We shouldn't be spending tax dollars on a private education.

This isn't paying for Charter schools those are public schools. This is paying for private schools, mnost of them religious schools as well.

Time to spend federal tax money only on public education.

Posted by: peterdc | May 6, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Where are the stats on how many kids in the voucher program are going onto college? Where are the measures for kids feeling safer at school? Not being exposed to gang activity or having to go through a metal detector every day to get to class? If anything, Obama needs to take a lesson from the voucher program and reform public school to emulate the private schools that are superior in many ways no one is measuring with a standardized test. I agree that this move is all in the interest of the teachers' unions, not the kids. Maybe the teachers' unions are satisfied getting their members paid for mediocre job performance, but as an American taxpayer who has a performance-based salary, I'm not!

Posted by: aprildf | May 6, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank you - finally somebody is listening!! I have three children who participated in this program, and quit frankly it was the best thing that happend to them!!! Two are currently in college and will be graduating next year. So this program is working. Children who are currently in the program should not be disrupted becasue of politics.. This program does work, and has change my children life tremendous!!!

Posted by: AnneSteele698 | May 6, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

This is the business of the local government, NOT the President ESPECIALLY since he chose to keep his children out of DC public schools.

He has far more critical national things to solve. He does not have time to meddle in local politics or to determine how college football determines the national champion.

Posted by: AWWNats | May 6, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

This is all about Obama paying back the Teachers Union. These DC kids are benefiting from the charter program.

Obama doesn't want the black parents to know he doesn't care about them. He is all about power.

Why would Obama close the program after these kids graduate? If the voucher program in DC works today, it will work tomorrow. Keep it open.

Posted by: sagereader | May 6, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse


ACORN Barry in bed with the Biggest Most Corrupt Lobby...UNIONS. ACORN Barry is a Socialist Hack!

Posted by: FraudObama | May 6, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I see. Avoid angering parents who currently have kids in the voucher system while still giving the NEA what they want. This from the president that railed against special interests. This from the president that vowed that Ed Secretary Duncan would base his actions simply on whether they help kids or not.

I hope everyone watches this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7FS5B-CynM

Posted by: grabowcp | May 6, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

There's money for everything else under the sun, but if the teachers' unions oppose spending a couple million for a school voucher program that poor African-American students and their parents love, Obama doesn't have the money for it.

Hope and change, indeed.

Posted by: wapo9 | May 6, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

What an outrage! This is approved overwhelming by the parents that have children in this program. Why doesn't the Post include feedback from the parents that have children in this program? Let's cut the crap. This is nothing more than pandering to the teachers unions. The unions feel threatened by education that actually works! This is why the US education system lags the rest of the world: self serving unions!

Posted by: tellall1 | May 6, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Great idea Barry, slam the door in the face of the kids who aren't going to school at $28K a year Sidwell Friends, along with your precious offspring.

Because our crappy, overfunded and underperforming public schools are good enough for YOUR kids, just not the precious offspring of unqualified, corrupt and incompetent Democrat politicians.

Posted by: NoDonkey | May 6, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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