While Governor Ted Strickland was declaring the end to the EdChoice voucher program in Ohio, Ohio Congressman John Boehner had co-sponsored legislation, HR 1486, that was introduced on 3/13/07 by Republican Howard “Buck” McKeon (CA-25), that would establish a nationwide voucher program.
From McKeon’s Townhall.com column on the bill:
My bill, the Empowering Parents through Choice Act, would provide expanded choice for parents whose children are trapped in schools consistently underperforming, showing little or no signs of improving. Specifically, the bill would:
- Award scholarships of up to $4,000 to students attending schools identified as in need of restructuring under NCLB. Schools begin the process of restructuring after they fall short of making adequate progress under NCLB for five consecutive years;
- Add a new option to NCLB’s accountability system to give school districts the flexibility to offer students attending schools that have entered restructuring scholarships in the amount of $4,000 to attend private schools of their choice; and
- Allow states, school districts, and private and non-profit organizations to compete for additional funds dedicated to intensive supplemental educational services to children in schools identified for restructuring. Supplemental educational services – such as after-school tutoring – are provided outside of the regular school day and are based on high-quality research designed to help improve the student’s academic achievement.
As I’ve written before, and this explanation above demonstrates, the concept of vouchers, as these individuals are trying to enact them, offers only a false sense of assistance allegedly in the name of parental choice. Instead what such efforts would bring is endless transitions for students who will be moved from school to school as parents realize that $4000 won’t get them anywhere except, oh – yes, a religious education. How convenient.
Some people on both sides of the aisle talk about the money following the student. If the amount of money following the student allows actual choice, not just in theory, but for multiple options in which the voucher amount matches the school’s tuition, then maybe we’re talking.
Even so, however, if these legislators want $4K per student to come from the federal budget? And go to religious schools? Well, I don’t think so.
So, when McKeon says:
Will our bid to enact this school choice bill come up against some major obstacles – including the new Democrat Majority in Congress and an education establishment hanging on for dear life to the unacceptable status quo in our schools? Absolutely. But does that mean we’ll retreat? Never. The Opportunity Scholarship program in Washington, D.C. finally became law after years of battling to make it so. And it was worth it. For all of those children who find themselves mired in underperforming schools because of the “lucky lottery of life,” the battle will be worth waging on their behalf as well.
he has no idea.
Here’s Boehner’s statement on the bill.
Remind me, how does a program like this make government smaller and less involved in our lives? Isn’t that what Republicans are supposed to champion? They may say it’s all about parental choice, but with a mere $4K, it’s sounds more to me like parental constraint.