The rest of the story on vouchers

THE REST OF THE STORY ON VOUCHERS…. The Washington Post editorial board, which has supported public funding of private school tuition for quite some time, has yet another item today urging Democratic lawmakers to invest federal funds in the D.C. voucher system.

The Post notes a survey that shows parents of students who receive vouchers are, among other things, pleased with “the freedom to choose where their children go to school.”

We hope that, despite his stated reservations about vouchers, President Obama includes money in his upcoming budget to safeguard the interests of children in this important local program and to preserve an unusually rigorous research study. Mr. Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, say they eschew ideology in favor of what serves the interests of children. Here’s a chance to help 1,716 of them.

What the Post piece neglected to mention is that the D.C. voucher program that the editorial board is so fond of is a complete mess.

In October 2007 we learned that after Congress handed over tax dollars to unregulated private schools in D.C. without conditions, taxpayers ended up financing unaccredited schools, “unsuitable learning environments,” schools with no operating permits, and schools where teachers didn’t even have bachelor’s degrees. Worse yet, a report from the Bush administration released in June 2008 found that students in D.C. who received vouchers didn’t do any better academically, either.

Of course, it’s not just Washington, D.C. As Greg Anrig recently explained in a terrific piece for the Washington Monthly, voucher “experiments” have failed to deliver the results proponents expected, and as a result, a lot of conservative activists are slowly but surely giving up on the idea altogether.

But not the conservatives on the Washington Post editorial board.

Post Script: As for the notion that parents of students with vouchers like “the freedom to choose where their children go to school,” this may be true. Of course, these parents already have this “freedom,” but can’t afford to pay private school tuition.

I’m looking forward to Post editorials, though, in support of these parents having the “freedom” to choose federally-funded healthcare for their families, federally-funded housing for their families, federally-funded nutrition for their families, federally-funded transportation for their families, etc.