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Posted at 7:12 PM ET, 02/ 5/2011

What school vouchers have bought for my family

By Vivian Butler, Washington

[The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was created in 2004 to allow students from low-income families to attend private schools. The program stopped enrolling new students after 2008, but Congress is considering legislation that would reopen it. This is one participant's story.]

I worried constantly about my daughter Jerlisa when she attended our neighborhood elementary school. I knew that I wanted a better education for her, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. In 2005, I took a chance and applied to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Little did I know how much more than $7,500 I would be gaining.

I grew up in the District and attended D.C. public schools. Jerlisa started off the same way. We enrolled her at Gibbs Elementary School for kindergarten, and as the years went by she started to fall behind. There was so much going on around the school and in the classroom. Every morning, I walked with her to school, and every afternoon I waited outside the school gates to walk her home again. She got teased for that, but I was worried about the drug dealers, addicts and bullies in the neighborhood. I didn’t have any other choice. I had to make sure she was safe.

When Jerlisa was in fifth grade, she became anxious and didn’t want to return to school. It was clear to me she wasn’t getting the help that she needed. That’s when I received fliers about the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Although I didn’t know everything about the OSP, I knew I had to do something different, even if it meant getting out of my comfort zone. When you’re a single mother on a fixed income, sometimes simple things like filling out your name, address or income on a form can be a scary thing to do.

I applied, and the OSP staff guided me through the process. When I received the voucher award letter, I was overwhelmed by the decisions I faced. For the first time, I had the option of choosing a school for Jerlisa. Where should I send her? What were the most important things to consider? In the end, I chose St. Benedict the Moor School because it had an environment that motivated students to learn. I wouldn’t have to worry about her falling behind, and I knew she would be safe there.

It was a huge change for Jerlisa, and sometimes she struggled. Then, four years into the program, Jerlisa was accepted at Archbishop Carroll High School. We were so excited, but now I had a new worry — how would I pay for it all? The scholarship didn’t cover the full tuition, and there also were books, uniforms and even her lunch to consider. On top of everything, I was taking care of my father, who was dying of cancer.

It took all the determination we could muster to keep Jerlisa in the program. The OSP and Archbishop Carroll staff stuck by my side, and I learned about other resources. To stretch my dollars, I rented used books, bought only two sets of uniforms and set up a payment plan to cover whatever costs I could.

I’m so glad I didn’t give up, because slowly but surely Jerlisa’s grades and education advanced. That made everything worthwhile. As ninth grade ended, I just couldn’t believe how much she had learned and grown. I said to myself: “By George, I think she’s got it now!”

Jerlisa isn’t the only one who has benefited from this experience. I, too, started to feel more confident. Now I ask about resources and fill out scholarship applications with ease. I found a way to buy new uniforms for my daughter. Instead of washing uniforms every afternoon, I use the time to help my daughter with her homework.

And seeing Jerlisa’s growth over the past six years has inspired me to take some hard steps in my own life. I’m now applying to programs to become a home health-care nurse. Meanwhile, Jerlisa is deciding where to apply for college.

These are things we never dreamed were possible before. I am extremely proud of my daughter, and she is proud of me. Jerlisa’s scholarship has been worth so much more than $7,500.

By Vivian Butler, Washington  | February 5, 2011; 7:12 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, education, schools  
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Comments

You can be sure the unions and government bureaucrats will now certainly hate Jerlisa's mom.

Posted by: 1911a1 | February 5, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Ms Butler,

Congratulations on succeeding as a parent. May your daughter find much success in life.

Politicians,

Do you see what a difference school choice can make? Do you?

Posted by: mikecapitolhill | February 5, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

It is not surprising The Washington Post would print this personal reflection. The Washington Post has been a consistent supporter of this private school voucher program. Unfortunately, despite this reflection, the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program was and remains a failed experiment imposed on the people of the District of Columbia. This voucher program did not achieve the success as designed. As reported by the US Department of Education, the students who participated did not achieve at any greater degree academically over the students who did not.

The Washington Post has shown its reporting bias and reckless reporting by continuing to print misinformation about the success of this failed voucher program. The Washington Post is arrogant and disrespectful to the concept of fairness by repeatedly refusing to print the views of District residents who oppose this failed program. The Washington Post is intellectually dishonest.

The Washington Post has a double standard on reporting the truth and an open disregard toward the principle of accurate and complete reporting. There are valid reasons to oppose this failed program; however, The Washington Post and other news outlets have determined not to report them or to print op-ed statements by District residents with equally strong and passionate views in opposition.

The Washington Post’s determination to report only one side of this issue highlights a complete hostility to the truth. The portrayal of opponents of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program as not caring about children or not supporting high quality public education for District children demonstrates a lack of integrity by the editors of The Washington Post. It is also a lie.

Editors of The Washington Post, in its newsroom and editorial room, have been deceitful and devious. They are undeserving of the public’s trust. Publisher Katharine Weymouth, editorial page editor Fred Hiatt, and editorial writer Jo-Ann Armao have been unfaithful to the ideal of truthful reporting. What does this say about their commitment to teaching ethics to children?

Robert Vinson Brannum
rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | February 5, 2011 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Great. Now what about those kids who are left behind, in schools with even less money and even less support? Parents who are working three jobs just to get by, and can't afford to send their kids to private schools even with the vouchers? Kids who are atheists or of minority religions in an area where the only private schools are religious? Are those kids less important, less deserving than Jerlisa?

How about we try to make education work for EVERY kid, not just those fortunate enough to get a voucher and to be able to make up the difference between the voucher and the private school's tuition?

Posted by: Catken1 | February 6, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

The government is in the business of supporting the government. Any diversion of funds to the people is wrong and immoral. Those $7500 should have been given to the teachers union where it would have been properly spent on political contributions to keep the whole game going. Any expenditure of education funds on children is a complete waste and probably illegal.

Posted by: jy151310 | February 6, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Good to hear.

It's amazing how much this anecdote upsets some people. The whole point of this program is to provide the opportunity for a better education.

The controversy is entirely ideological. There is little evidencw that the programs are ineffective. Such evidence is far-outweighed by evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear.

It's amazing how much this anecdote upsets some people. The whole point of this program is to provide the opportunity for a better education.

The controversy is entirely ideological. There is little evidencw that the programs are ineffective. Such evidence is far-outweighed by evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Brannum,

Instead of accusing the Post of biased reporting, why not evaluate the evidence associated with the effectiveness of voucher programs?

The 2006 study is incomplete, dated, and irrelevant. It does not compare the performance of voucher recipients to non-recipients, it only compares the performance of certain subgroups of private-school students to that their peers in public school.

An independent report on the effectiveness of the OSP indicated that vouchers improved performance at 1/4 cost of he average sendng per student in DCPS.


Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Brannum,

Instead of accusing the Post of biased reporting, why not evaluate the evidence associated with the effectiveness of voucher programs?

The 2006 study is incomplete, dated, and irrelevant. It does not compare the performance of voucher recipients to non-recipients, it only compares the performance of certain subgroups of private-school students to that their peers in public school.

An independent report on the effectiveness of the OSP indicated that vouchers improved performance at 1/4 cost of he average sendng per student in DCPS.


Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

What I would love to see is those of us who believe in school choice putting our money where our mouth is and creating a charitable organization that parents can apply to for private vouchers and/or supplemental vouchers for things like these vouchers.

The arguements here that say that if some kids are left behind all should be is a ridiculous logic...so if a building were burning and you could only carry one child out with you you'd leave them all so its fair? The answer is to provide access to a good education to all who are willing to take the initiative to go after it, not punish some because of the apathy of others

Posted by: oregonteacher | February 6, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

To jboogie1:

Since you do not cite the name of the "independent study" I will not respond to its accuracy. However, I will note the U.S. Department of Education's review which clearly states this voucher program did not achieve the results desired. The evidence does not support this program as successful.

Moreover, it is alleged by Congressional supporters of this failed voucher program, Congress directed the results to compare only DCOSP participating students against students who decided not to participate in the DCOSP and attended a non DCPS school.

Supporters of DCOSP cannot have it both ways. The voucher program was not the successful program as claimed by its supporters.

Robert Vinson Brannum
rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | February 6, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Brannum --

I don't know which study the other poster was referencing, but the 2009 Dept. of Education report which concluded, "there was a statistically significant positive impact on reading test scores." And although there was no measurable difference on math scores, one should note that the same results were achieved at 1/4 of the cost of children attending DCPS.

Getting the same result at one quarter of the price seems like success to me. And that's after only three years -- I would imagine there will be even more progress as kids are able to escape the notorious DCPS system over a longer time period.

Posted by: ztexz1 | February 6, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I find it very interesting how they sanitized this article to read, "The program stopped enrolling new students after 2008". The fact is, Dick Durbin and Obama KILLED THE PROGRAM, at the behest of teachers unions.

Posted by: vrbjunk | February 6, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

If Obama and the teacher's unions had their way Jerlisa wouldn't have had an option. She would have been stuck in the schools that were failing her, even as more and more tax dollars were funneled to give the administrators and teacher even more money with which to fail. When Obama says he wants to borrow more money to invest in education, he means borrow tens of billions more to funnel to the teachers unions. Not to give parents and student more choices and more options to opt out of failing public schools!

Posted by: valwayne | February 6, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

If Obama and the teacher's unions had their way Jerlisa wouldn't have had an option. She would have been stuck in the schools that were failing her, even as more and more tax dollars were funneled to give the administrators and teacher even more money with which to fail. When Obama says he wants to borrow more money to invest in education, he means borrow tens of billions more to funnel to the teachers unions. Not to give parents and students more choices and more options to opt out of failing public schools!

Posted by: valwayne | February 6, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I see one post here, and the complaint goes as follows.....'that's great for the ones who get the voucher, but what about the others? We should focus on making all the schools better so all the kids will be able to get a good education.'

It think we have been trying to do that for years, and are making little progress. I suggest we close the worse 25 percent of the public schools and use that money for vouchers, then we will have helped at least that many kids!

And if the remaining schools can't figure out how to improve, let's continue closing schools and offering more vouchers.

Posted by: tennisman874 | February 6, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The District lost its best chance at reform when it fired Fenty and ran Rhee out of town.

Posted by: ztexz1 | February 6, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

We need to end the public school monopoly now. End tenure, institute merit pay for teachers and close schools that fall behind. Nothing in this country is holding the minority community down as much as our inner city schools. It is stealing the future from our most vulnerable children. See "Waiting for Superman" and I dare you to leave the theatre still supporting teachers unions and our failing public school systems.

Posted by: jkk1943 | February 6, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

There is a day coming, very soon, when taxpayers are going to resent having money sent to the Feds or to their state capitol which doesn't serve their own children. While there's much to be said for having a solid public education system, there's no question that the system is broken. I teach in a school district where more than half of our revenue goes to poor districts. With no oversight, these districts often opt for glitzy extras rather than better books or more computers. What sense does it make for a poor school to spend money on a stadium when what they lack is support for their academic core? Yet this is the way site based management works. So while my kids were in portables for most of their elementary career, kids in "poorer" schools had new classrooms, new computers and all under the pressure exerted by activist judges to legislate from the bench. In order to change the system we must give parents control over who gets their tax dollars and what is done with them. I do not say this lightly. As a public high school teacher it will close some schools down. But if we really embrace the idea of supply vs. demand, those good schools will expand while marginal and bad schools will shut down. The big problem will be getting some less than stellar parents to pay attention so that they make the right choices. But then again, that's always been the problem.

Posted by: TruBluTopaz | February 6, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

These voucher schemes are nothing more than an attempt to starve public education.

At at time when our public schools (as well as state and local governments nationwide) are facing unprecedented cutbacks and budget slashings, we should be focused on how to provide more resources for our public schools and our children, not less.

Public education is to provide education to ALL students - not just a few. It is time for home schoolers, private schoolers, right-wingers, and other Anti-public school zealots to stop their full-scale assault on public schools and to stop trying to rob public schools of much needed funds and students.

Posted by: Murray6 | February 6, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

What I would love to see is those of us who believe in school choice putting our money where our mouth is...
Posted by: oregonteacher | February 6, 20

As a taxpayer, I already do. its called the DCOSP and, as long as there is substantial evidence that it works, I want to see it continued. This is federally funded and takes NOTHING away from students who remain in the DCPS.

Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

What I would love to see is those of us who believe in school choice putting our money where our mouth is...
Posted by: oregonteacher | February 6, 20

As a taxpayer, I already do. its called the DCOSP and, as long as there is substantial evidence that it works, I want to see it continued. This is federally funded and takes NOTHING away from students who remain in the DCPS.

Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

What I would love to see is those of us who believe in school choice putting our money where our mouth is...
Posted by: oregonteacher | February 6, 20

As a taxpayer, I already do. its called the DCOSP and, as long as there is substantial evidence that it works, I want to see it continued. This is federally funded and takes NOTHING away from students who remain in the DCPS.

Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 10:02 PM | Report abuse

What I would love to see is those of us who believe in school choice putting our money where our mouth is...
Posted by: oregonteacher | February 6, 20

As a taxpayer, I already do. its called the DCOSP and, as long as there is substantial evidence that it works, I want to see it continued. This is federally funded and takes NOTHING away from students who remain in the DCPS.

Posted by: jboogie1 | February 6, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Lets stick with what we know. The government education monopoly spends more money per student than every country on the planet except norway. Our results our abysmal relative to other advanced countries. We need a robust private option to help break the stranglehold of the government monopoly or we will continue to spend a lot more than everyone else for much worse results.

If a robust public option is so important for health care it follows that a robust private option is even more important for education. This is such an option and its about time.

Posted by: stljoe | February 6, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

It is the Democratic party and OBAMA who stopped the voucher program in DC. Republicans sponsored the vouchers!
Wake up Black people!

Democrats blocked the school doors so that Black children could not get an education in the south in the 1960s and they continue to destroy black children's lives today.

Posted by: MangoJuice1 | February 7, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

"These voucher schemes are nothing more than an attempt to starve public education."

With the massive failure of our current system in keeping up with other countries at lower costs, why would this be a bad thing?

A lack of money is not what is making public schools in America deficient:

http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=7761

We've pretty much doubled spending overall in the US since the 70's and what do we have to show for it?

Posted by: paradigmperipheral | February 7, 2011 2:48 AM | Report abuse

There is a reason people with money, like the Obama's, select private education for their children. If these kids can get access to the private system and taxpayers pay less it is obviously a good deal for everybody but the teacher's unions. We live in a city with forced busing. Anyone who can afford the $12,000 for tuition does and many parents do it with great sacrifice. How sad that we put unions before kids. Shame on Obama. It was not good enough for his kids.

Posted by: tamiparrott123 | February 7, 2011 5:29 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate Vivian Butler's story and how the opportunity scholarship has worked for Jerlisa. I strongly applaud Butler's care and attention to Jerlisa's education. I an gad there was (and still should be) an opportunity scholarship program to allow an escape from a deteriorating public schools system. That the public school system continues to deteriorate no matter how much money we pump into the system, is on the public school system and not on the parents and the students.

We need scholarship and voucher systems to facility and escape from these overly large, one size fits all, public school systems. The escape from poverty is education, yet we continue to force the poor into poor schools perpetuating the problem.

Posted by: RickCaird | February 7, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

The day we allowed public service workers to unionize we took a major step away from being the land of the free. The teachers' unions run a monopoly in education, and always hold the children hostage: If you don't funnel dollars to us, the kids will suffer. If you allow education outside our system, the ones left in it will suffer.

It doesn't work that way. The increased competition among schools for dollars will do amazing things for the quality of education. There will be some kids who fail, who really don't belong in school. That is the way it is. They can find other ways to become productive citizens, or they can reevaluate their attitude toward learning. But for the great majority, ending the union-Democrat axis of evil is exactly what American education needs.

Posted by: pbpublic | February 7, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

To Robert Brannum, it looks like everything stated in your post is either a blatant lie or you just don't know the facts:http://www.heartland.org/full/27877/Study_DC_Opportunity_Scholarship_Program_Benefits_Participants.html

Posted by: tractah | February 7, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

This is another reason why I can't stand liberals. They say they want to help the poor, but what they are really saying is they want to help their unions - a far cry from the poor. They say they are for the people that need the most, but they stop vouchers that will actually help these poor students. They allow tax payer dollars to be used frivolously and worst of all they never hold the criminal liars in their party accountable. They just keep re electing them. Liberals and big government are the problem. They are liars and hypocrites.

Posted by: wagner3 | February 7, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"Robert Vinson Brannum" happens to be a member of the DC School Board. He is sockpuppeting. He is defending his own decisions to lock kids into a failing school system. Shame on you, Sir!!

The only policy that should be in play is "What works for our children's education." The DC public school system, like many around the country, are FAILING our children, providing expensive low quality education. They've had FIFTY YEARS to get it right, and they have failed.

It is high time for change. We need to go to a universal voucher system so that education money follows the child, not the school, and ALL parents get their choice of schools -- not just those lucky enough to get their name pulled in a lottery, or to win the "Zipcode Lottery" of education. ALL schools must compete for the education dollars of each child, and not take any child for granted.

If it works for Belgium, why not the US??

Posted by: EasyEight | February 7, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

What this parent was thinking is all you need to know:

"For the first time, I had the option of choosing a school for Jerlisa. Where should I send her?"

This parent had "voucher money" in her hand to send with her child, if you don't thinks schools are going to try to compete for that voucher money you do not understand anything about free markets. School administrators will figure ways to run a school that will earn a positive reputation. With "voucher money" attached, the schools livelihood depends on it. That promotes many good things and better, easier choices for parents.

Posted by: Mayor_Simpleton | February 7, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"It think we have been trying to do that for years, and are making little progress"

Getting rid of the teachers union would go a LONG way to improving public school for our children.

Watch 'Waiting For Superman' if you are TRULY interested in changing the course of so many failed public schools.

http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/

Posted by: hswenson | February 7, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

In response to Catken:

1) If you are concerned about the rights of atheist or Hindu or Muslim children, instead of penalizing Christian kids, why not try to help bring more options to the rest? Though I think this might be a straw man argument - I grew up in a working class neighborhood in NYC, and some of the Hindu and Sikh kids I knew went to Catholic school because it was the best school. Their parents were more concerned about the kids getting the best education than any religious indoctrination that might occur. I think the worries about such things are more of a concern among upper-middle class liberals who either have access to high quality public schools or who can, like Pres. Obama, afford to send their children to expensive private schools.

However, if this is a legitimate concern, by increasing the budget for vouchers, you will create a marketplace for other types of schools. Some of these options may be less effective than Catholic schools, others may be more effective - but parents will have more choices.

This is the problem with liberals vs. conservatives on this issue. The liberals are like the old Wendy's commercials which showed a fashion show in the Soviet Union - the same gray dress for everybody. The conservatives want people to have choices.

The reality is that not every choice works for every student. And throwing money at the public schools does not fix the problem. We keep increasing funding, and the problems remain the same.

I suspect liberals would hate parental choice no matter what. If we could figure out a way to increase public school funding while still giving parents vouchers - would this remove liberal complaints? If we could provide secular equivalents to Catholic schools, would this remove them? I somehow doubt it. The real problem is not these straw men, the real problem for liberals are parents who are independent, who make the best choices for their children instead of passively accepting the authority of the state.

Posted by: ssohara | February 7, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Robert Vinson Brannum - You mention several times that this is a failed voucher program, but have not listed any of the failures. Everything I have read about this program is a positive response from the parents, as well as the students. So I don't know where the failures are. If you are aware of failures that are not being reported, please let us know.

You also accuse the WP of being "deceitful and devious" with their reporting, as well as "hostile to the truth". Would part of that "truth" you speak of include the fact that you a political activist working against any type of alternative schooling for children? Aren't you the guy who advocates for spending even more money on a continuously failing public school system?

So when you make vague generalizations about the voucher program being a failure and accuse the WP of biased reporting, isn't it you who has a political agenda you are trying to advance and isn't it you who is the one who is biased?

Posted by: ramrants | February 7, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Brannum:


You obviously believe the scholarship program should be discontinued.

In support, you say "Unfortunately, despite this reflection, the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program was and remains a failed experiment imposed on the people of the District of Columbia. This voucher program did not achieve the success as designed. As reported by the US Department of Education, the students who participated did not achieve at any greater degree academically over the students who did not."

Aren't those same exact statements true of the DC Public Schools? If you favor discontinuing the voucher program, why don't you favor discontinuing public schools generally? They are a failed experiment in DC. They clearly do not achieve "success" as designed. They produce no better results than other systems of education, and clearly cost a GREAT DEAL more than any other system.

I'm all for fairness. If we close down the voucher program, let's close down the DC Public Schools and give parents the full value of the saved money on a per student basis.

Posted by: rrelph | February 7, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

If we are going to have school choice, fine but only on fair grounds.

That means one of the following two conditions must exist.

1. Any school which takes any vouchers must take ALL voucher students who apply even if they become overcrowded and KEEP THEM as long as the student wishes to stay regardless of performance, behavior, special education status or parental performance. These schools must provide transportation and all the same services of the public school.

OR

2. The public schools have the same right to remove a student for whatever reason (behavior, special education status, parent behavior, grades, hair color, religion, whatever) that the charter schools do. Public schools can declare themselves full at a given size and refuse or kick out students as they see fit.

This isn't what school choice folks want. They want to be able to chose where to send their kids while at the same time putting the kids they don't want in public schools who have no control over who they accept.

Posted by: lisa96 | February 7, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

lisa96:

I favor school vouchers 100% but you do make some interesting points that should be discussed. The best way to address this is not to "make" a school do anything but to incentivize all schools thru vouchers.

Posted by: tractah | February 7, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

One thing that nobody mentions when discussing the studies of the DC scholarship program is cost. The DC program cost 7500 dollars per student. The average cost for public schools in DC is a whopping 24,000 dollars per year. Many people have labeled the program as a failiure because the test scores of the students are the same as students who are not in the program. First of all I think that claim is bogus but for the sake of argument lets just say that it is true. If the test scores are the same that means that the DC scholarship program is providing just as good an education for less than 1/3 of the cost of the public school system. Thats not a failure. That is an extraordinary success! Imagine how well the program could work if it was funded on the same levels as as the public schools. Contrary to what some people are saying in this thread, the program does not "drain money" from the public schools. First of all the program was funded at the federal level and second of all the program is so inexpensive it actually leaves more money per student for the public school system.

In addition to that issue comparing students from the scholarship program to all other public school system is completely bogus because your not comparing apples to apples. The students who would seek to enroll in the scholarship program are not the same as the students that would not. Obviously their circumstances are different. That why they are making different choices! A study was done of school choice when students were compared who ALL applied to be in a charter school. These students represented a valid comparison because they all faced the same situation.

Posted by: dannyphipps | February 7, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

First off, I would like to say I am glad to hear about her daughter's success in the program. I am not critical of it because it fails in helping some students (note:SOME) achieve the heights that they can reach, but rather because it leaves a whole lot more in rotting schools with imcompitent teachers and lack of any form of real hope. Instead of trying to help a minority of students, we must help the entire thing. Instead of throwing money at private schools, who will use it to make pretty campusses for their "successful" white students, we must invest it in our public school system where we can create a environment where every student can realise their own potential and surpass it. You mention that people who go to the voucher program are somehow more diserving of it, but I would have to disagree, all students are deserving of a quality education, not just those who can play the system or have a chance at success, that is exactly why the public school system was created in the first place.

Our school system is messed up- instead on trying to look past it by placing people like Rhee in charge, and giving vouchers to a few kids, how about we sit down, have a chat, and put all that work in creating a system that both works and is fair to EVERYONE? We won't get better until we leave the idea that we should create alternatives by the way side-all that vouchers, charter schools, and other alternatives have done are to split up the money and smart minds into factions each arguing that their way was the best.

Posted by: davidofhumans | February 8, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

First off, I would like to say I am glad to hear about her daughter's success in the program. I am not critical of it because it fails in helping some students (note:SOME) achieve the heights that they can reach, but rather because it leaves a whole lot more in rotting schools with imcompitent teachers and lack of any form of real hope. Instead of trying to help a minority of students, we must help the entire thing. Instead of throwing money at private schools, who will use it to make pretty campusses for their "successful" white students, we must invest it in our public school system where we can create a environment where every student can realise their own potential and surpass it. You mention that people who go to the voucher program are somehow more diserving of it, but I would have to disagree, all students are deserving of a quality education, not just those who can play the system or have a chance at success, that is exactly why the public school system was created in the first place.

Our school system is messed up- instead on trying to look past it by placing people like Rhee in charge, and giving vouchers to a few kids, how about we sit down, have a chat, and put all that work in creating a system that both works and is fair to EVERYONE? We won't get better until we leave the idea that we should create alternatives by the way side-all that vouchers, charter schools, and other alternatives have done are to split up the money and smart minds into factions each arguing that their way was the best.

Posted by: davidofhumans | February 8, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

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