March 3, 2009 1:50PM

School Choice Support Has Media Mainstreamed

When an issue that used to be considered free‐​market fringe is embraced as a moral litmus test for politicians by liberal editorial boards (or idealized fictional Democratic Presidents), you know the issue‐​argument has been won. That’s certainly not to say the policy war has been won, but an important battle toward realizing that goal has been.

Last week the Washington Post denounced the recent attempt by Congress to kill the DC voucher program with a poison pill buried in the omnibus spending bill.

Today the Chicago Tribune editorializes in support of DC vouchers, noting in the process the strong of achievement gains from school choice, the financial advantages of choice, the corrupting influence of the teachers unions on the Democratic Party, and the rank hypocrisy of a President Obama who sends his own children to an expensive private school while kowtowing to the unions in his opposition to school choice for those without independent means.

The editorial is remarkable, quite heated, and particularly hard on the President. Here are the highlights, but it’s worth a full read:

[The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is] in Washington, D.C., which has among the worst schools in America… It’s a modest undertaking, providing just $7,500 per child—less than a third of what the District of Columbia spends per pupil in public schools.

But vouchers are anathema to many in the Democratic Party because teachers unions feel threatened by the prospect of more children going to non‐​union private schools… Democrats to kids: Tough luck…

Of the 10 studies of existing voucher systems, says Wolf, nine found significant academic improvements… President Obama doesn’t need to be told about the deficiencies of Washington’s public schools: He rejected them in favor of a private school for his daughters. Ask how many members of Congress send their children to public schools in D.C… If they want to end the experiment at such an early stage, it’s not because they think it’s failing, but because they fear it’s working.