Voucher Rhetoric Meets Voucher Reality

Today’s Washington Post writes up what has been a simmering backroom dispute for months. Washington’s new federally funded voucher program is causing heartburn for the city’s Catholic schools because it does not provide sufficient funding to cover their costs. The reason is that the voucher program provides parents grants only for tuition. But in Catholic schools tuition is lower than total costs. The Archdiocese of Washington subsidizes tuition as archdioceses in other cities do as well.

Although Eduwonk is skeptical of the whole program (click here to learn why) the Catholic schools do have a valid point here. But — and this is the important backstory here — these issues were raised while the program was being designed. But Republican congressional staffers and the Bush Administration were so wed to the myth and rhetoric that Catholic schools only cost a few thousand a year per student that they ignored the problem. It’s the same blind adherence to ideology over deliberate policymaking that causes even reasonable observers to question the efficacy of the whole enterprise.

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