Elsewhere,Alabama is also moving to expand choice. Its program will provide income tax credits that will allow students to escape failing schools. Donations to scholarship funds will be tax deductible. The governor says this is “the most significant piece of legislation that’s been passed in this legislature in years.”
And Tennessee is considering setting up a voucher program for low-income students who are stuck in underperforming schools. The program would only provide some 5,000 vouchers at first, but would expand to 20,000 over the next several years.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying to limit school choice in the nation’s capital. Its proposed budget provides no funding next year for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. Which is odd: “According to the Department of Education’s scientifically rigorous evaluation of the program, the DCOSP has been a wild success,” Lindsey Burke writes. “Students who received a voucher and used it to attend a private school had a 91 percent graduation rate -- 21 percentage points higher than their peers who did not receive a voucher.”
The administration wants to spend $75 billion over the next decade supporting a new federal pre-school program (even though the government’s Head Start program is a proven failure) but aims to save $20 million a year by ending the voucher program. Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Freedom is threatened on many sides. ObamaCare marches forward, endangering religious liberty and personal health care choices. The United States plunges year after year in the Index of Economic Freedom, with big drops in business freedom, labor freedom and monetary freedom dragging us down. At least in education we’re seeing some positive steps. That’s good news for our nation’s future.