NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 13, 2008

While Barack Obama's own children enjoy the best education money can buy (his daughters attend the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where tuition ranges from $15,528 for kindergarten to $20,445 for high school), he wants to deny inner-city children the option of school choice, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Obama has been completely silent about the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program:

  • The D.C. School Choice Act of 2003 established the federally funded voucher program that provides vouchers of up to $7,500 for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • It lets students attend one of 60 participating nonpublic schools.

But it was funded only through the 2008-09 school year.  Democrats such as D.C.'s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, want to kill the successful program, which shows that money is not the root of a good education:

  • Norton and Obama seem oblivious to the fact that District school spending is at $13,400 per student -- third-highest in the nation.
  • Yet in 2007, D.C. public schools ranked last in math scores and second-to-last in reading scores for all urban public school systems in the United States, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Norton is leading the charge to block a mere $18 million in funding for the 2009-10 school year. This demonstration program serves some 1,900 students.  A recent Education Department report found that nearly 90 percent of Opportunity scholarship students had higher reading scores than peers who didn't receive a scholarship. Not surprisingly, there are five applicants for every opening.

April Cole-Walton's daughter attends St. Peter's Interparish School thanks to an Opportunity Scholarship.  "If I could talk to Sen. Obama," she says, "I would say, 'Give me a choice and give my daughter a chance.' "

Source: Editorial, "Obama's Little Red Schoolhouse," Investor's Business Daily, August 11, 2008.


Browse more articles on Education Issues