No money for D.C. voucher program in Obama’s gigantic new budget, of course; Update: Meanwhile, White House to boost subsidies for Chevy Volt
posted at 7:12 pm on February 13, 2012 by Allahpundit
He’s intent on killing this program. Remember when he tried to kill it slowly back in 2009, promising to fund it until the current participants graduated high school and then to pull the plug? We’re talking about something like $20 million in a budget of $3.8 trillion and somehow he can’t scrape together the money for scholarships for poor kids to go to private school. When you can’t get a few crumbs from a multitrillion-dollar pie, there must be a very, very important reason.
And there is. This is basically Keystone part II: Once again, some unfortunate Americans have ended up on the wrong side of a core left-wing constituency whom The One needs to help him get reelected.
The D.C. OSP has been highly successful. According to federally-mandated evaluations of the program, student achievement has increased, and graduation rates of voucher students have increased significantly. While graduation rates in D.C. Public Schools hover around 55 percent, students who used a voucher to attend private school had a 91 percent graduation rate.
And at $8,000, the vouchers are a bargain compared to the estimated $18,000 spent per child by D.C. Public Schools.
The Department of Education’s budget will increase 3.5 percent if the proposal is enacted, continuing a failed trend of spending more taxpayer dollars through Washington on a myriad of programs with a poor track record.
By contrast, the D.C. OSP has a stellar track record of increasing academic success, student safety, and parental satisfaction. And because of the nature of the District of Columbia (education in D.C. is under the jurisdiction of Congress), it is entirely appropriate for the federal government to fund the D.C. OSP.
More from the pro-voucher American Federation for Children:
Since the program’s inception in 2004, more than 10,000 families have applied to participate in the OSP. Four years of studies from Georgetown University and the University of Arkansas have shown overwhelming parental satisfaction, and 74 percent of D.C. residents polled a year ago supported reauthorization. More than 520 applications were submitted at a signup event for the program on Saturday, hosted by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.
Enrollment increased 60 percent last year, with parents “rushing” to sign their kids up, after the new GOP House renewed the program for five years. That’s the good news — since Congress is likely to become redder this fall, the GOP will be able to force a penny-ante budgetary matter like this on Obama even if he’s reelected. The bad news is that O is so deeply captive to public-school teachers’ unions that he’d rather risk the optics of canceling a school-choice program for poor kids knowing that it’ll end up in the budget anyway than embrace it and anger his PEU cronies. Loathsome.
If you’ve never seen it before, here’s Reason’s excellent video on the D.C. program from 2009.
The White House intends to boost government subsidies for wealthy buyers of the Chevy Volt and other new-technology vehicles — to $10,000 per buyer.
That mammoth subsidy would cost taxpayers $100 million each year if it is approved by Congress, presuming only 10,000 new-technology autos are sold each year…
The new subsidy level represents a 33 percent jump from the current $7,500 government payout for each Volt buyer, even though the Volt’s buyers are already among the wealthiest Americans. It will be offered to buyers of any new-technology autos, including battery-powered autos and cars powered by natural gas, said a White House official.
D.C. scholarships are $12,000 per student, so this is almost (but not quite) a perfect transfer of taxpayer money from poor kids to rich environmentalists. Everyone wins! And by “everyone,” I mean Obama’s public-school-teacher friends and the green lobby. Thanks to Rory Cooper of Heritage.