Speaking on education this past March, President Obama told Americans that he believes in only “one test when deciding what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars: It’s not whether an idea is liberal or conservative, but whether it works.”
OK, great! Here’s something that works: the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. It’s a federal initiative that is currently giving 1,715 extremely disadvantaged children a reprieve from the infamously awful and dangerous public schools in the nation’s capital. It’s supported by many local Democrats and Republicans.
Previously near-illiterate children now read and write above grade level, test scores are up, and parents and children are thrilled with the safe and calm learning environments in the private schools they were able to choose thanks to the scholarships.
Oh, and the $7,500 it costs to send a child to a private school for one year with the D.C. scholarship is less than half of what D.C. taxpayers have to shell out to keep that child trapped in a failing public school.
Naturally, the National Education Association fought the program tooth and nail—and Congress is now poised to phase out the scholarships. Some students who had been accepted even received letters revoking that acceptance. President Obama—who had pledged to support what works—has not lifted a finger to save a program that should be a no-brainer.
But everything is abstract unless seen first-hand. Which is why Let Me Rise, a 30-minute documentary produced by The Heritage Foundation and narrated by NPR’s Juan Williams, is a must-see (www.voicesofschoolchoice.org).
Let Me Rise shows how the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program does much more than bump up test scores. Participating parents and students say the program has saved the children from near-guaranteed failure—in school and in life. The movie demonstrates with heart-breaking clarity how otherwise doomed children now have a fair shot at the American dream.
President Obama said that, “I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that [my daughters] have.”
Just a few miles from the White House, 1,715 truly disadvantaged children are finally learning and dreaming and growing and thriving. President Obama—now is the time to let the District’s other children rise.