Eduwonk Tries To Make The DC Voucher Debate Interesting By Any Means Necessary!

The Washington Post editorial board has been all over the D.C. voucher program’s impending termination, but beyond that it hasn’t been getting a lot of national attention since the omnibus spending bill passed and the program was more or less killed.  Perhaps that is going to change with today’s pretty charged WaPo op-ed from former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams and former councilman Kevin Chavous who go Malcolm X in defense of the program?  

Of course, even though parents are abandoning the city’s traditional public schools in droves for public charter schools and private options “many DCPS schools now feature a range of exciting programs and special classes….” (pdf).   Who knew?  

A while back in this debate I noted that it increasingly seemed small pilot voucher programs were becoming less toxic, which was both good and bad for voucher proponents.   Maybe todays op-ed will wake people up, but for now that still seems mostly the case.   It’s a strange time.  Outside the usual suspects there is not a lot of excitement to save the program even as you’re really hard pressed to find anyone who thinks it’s doing any harm — except politically because it carries the message…  In other words, this episode would seem to have all the makings (race, power, politics) of a powerful moment, except it’s basically a non-moment so far…there isn’t even much of an underdog effect…

Like Iraq, the debate now, if any, seems to be over the timetable for withdrawal…

2 Replies to “Eduwonk Tries To Make The DC Voucher Debate Interesting By Any Means Necessary!”

  1. I think the story is interesting to those of us outside the bubble.

    I imagine that for most members of teachers unions and others in public education, killing the program isn’t interesting because (1) this is why they buy politicians in the first place, and (2) the consensus is that vouchers are a terrible idea. So what’s the big deal?

    To those of us outside the bubble but still interested in education, it’s pretty interesting. Unions, Congress, and the Prez are ok sending hundreds of (black) students back to the terrible schools from which they fled, on the theory that vouchers are bad for public education in the long term, and on the assumption that one day we’ll figure out how to run schools in big cities. In the mean time, those (black) kids just have to deal.

    I think everyone understands the argument against vouchers and charter schools, but we are a little surprised that the public education establishment, Congress, and even our munificent, sharply-dressed, better-than-Jesus President can be so brazenly cynical.

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