The Corner

The Facts about School Choice Support the Boehner/Lieberman Scholarship Proposal

As Kathryn noted yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Joseph Lieberman are pushing to restore the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. They recently announced that they will be introducing the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has been on life support ever since Congress — bowing to pressure from special-interest groups — blocked new students from receiving scholarships.

There is solid evidence to support the push for increased school-choice options. At a panel convened by the Heritage Foundation as part of National School Choice Week, Patrick Wolf, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas outlined the findings.

One of the most important impacts of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has been its ability to increase graduation rates — by 21 percentage points. Wolf translated that into very real terms: This equates to 180 kids not graduating because they didn’t receive scholarships. And these are the children most in need: 44 percent of scholarship students are from schools designated in need of improvement, and 17 percent have a diagnosed disability. The average family income for children in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program is slightly more than $17,300.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has increased the reading scores of participating students and has significantly increased graduation rates. Moreover, parents are happier and children are safer. This evidence has become so overwhelming that many skeptics have become believers in school choice.

Wolf noted that two school-choice skeptics, Clive Belfield and Henry Levin, conducted a meta-analysis of 200 studies on school choice. Their conclusion? There is “reasonably consistent evidence of a link between competition (choice) and education quality. Increased competition and higher educational quality are positively correlated.”

Increased academic achievement, higher graduation rates, increased student safety, and increased parental satisfaction. School choice works, and in the case of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, is helping some of the country’s neediest children.

As Speaker Boehner demonstrated by inviting scholarship students and advocates to his State of the Union box, his top priority is the well-being of children and the future of education in America.

Lindsey Burke is a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More