Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation has a good post today dissecting Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s recent press release on DC school vouchers.
If anything, Burke goes a little easy on Rep. Pelosi, comparing the maximum value of the vouchers ($7,500) with the published figure for DC public school spending ($17,600). As it happens, the public school spending figures published by the Department of Education (and the Bureau of the Census) are always badly out of date. That means they don’t take into account the continuing trends of rising overall spending and falling enrollment in DC public schools (let alone inflation). When you break down the DC K-12 education budget for the 2008-2009 school year, as I did in this Excel spreadsheet, it comes out to just over $28,000 per pupil. It’s almost certainly higher today.
What’s more, the average voucher amount is closer to $7,000, so DC schools are underperforming the private voucher schools while spending four times as much per pupil.
Despite this, Rep. Pelosi, President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and over 90% of Democrats in the House and Senate oppose the DC voucher program. It’s almost as if politicians care more about special interests and ideology than they do about kids and reality.