Obama’s Compromise on D.C.‘s School Vouchers Program

May 10, 2009 • Commentary
This article appeared in the Washington Post on May 10, 2009.

President Obama’s decision isn’t much of a compromise. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel wrote to congressional Democrats demanding that they kill the D.C. voucher program, and they complied. Obama has merely tried to alter the manner of destruction — choosing attrition over summary execution.

During the campaign, Obama said that if vouchers worked he would support them. The Education Department recently revealed that students who joined the voucher program in 2004 are now more than two school years ahead of their public school peers in reading.

In his initial budget, Obama declared that when it comes to education, we cannot waste dollars on programs that are inefficient. Average tuition at the voucher schools is $6,620, while the District is spending $26,555 per pupil this year on K-12 education.

So contrary to his promises, the president has sacrificed a program he knows to be efficient and successful in order to appease the public school employee unions. If he will do this for the NEA, he will do anything.

America finally has an “education president,” and his name is Dennis Van Roekel.

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