Katrina Vouchers

A number of readers want to know where things stand on the whole question about aid to parents of students displaced by Katrina. Here’s where: Negotiations continue (though look for action very soon). Basically, the votes aren’t there to stop something like this so now the negotiations are about how to make it palatable and give enough cover that it doesn’t look like a voucher.

Problem is, all those provisions (various civil rights protections, accountability, means-testing, etc…) while meritorious also establish a broader framework for how to provide parents or non-public schools with federal aid than exists now. So, in the interest of a short-term political fix to give the NEA and others cover, the infrastructure for a much more serious problem for them is being laid because Republicans and voucher proponents will have a stronger rationale and a precedent…it’s really about the only thing going right for the Republicans right now…

Still seems like this trap could have been avoided with a one-time general aid program for all affected parents — that didn’t delve into any of these issues — because it would have been about hurricane relief not educational policy…in other words, with their quick shoot from the hip reaction when this was first proposed, the teachers’ unions seem to have created the trap that they want to avoid…

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