The Wall Street Journal reports that President-elect Obama is deliberating over which school his children should attend. This from the article-
“As public servant No. 1, Barack Obama may feel the heat to send his kids to public schools. The White House is zoned for Francis-Stevens Educational Center in Foggy Bottom…But Mr. Obama could also follow the lead of the last First Family with school-aged children, the Clintons, who said their daughter wasn’t a social experiment, and put Chelsea at Sidwell Friends, a Quaker school on Wisconsin Avenue.”
Through obtuse opposition to any form of school choice, backward South Carolina lawmakers and bureaucrats have ensured that all parents in South Carolina will not be given the opportunity to make the same decision about where their children attend school. Currently, wealth and zip code (which obviously go hand in hand) are the only determiners of whether your child attends one of the state’s failing public schools or not.
In contrast, Washington D.C.’s Opportunity Scholarship Program enables parents without economic means to exercise the same choices in education as their wealthy peers. Under this program, all parents of children that qualify for free and reduced lunch are eligible for a scholarship of up to $7,500 to help pay for tuition, transportation, and school fees. Parents jumped to take advantage of their newfound choices. The Friedman Foundation reports that in 2006-07, 1,800 students made use of the scholarship, and almost 70 private schools participated in the program. There are many thousands of families with children enrolled in chronically failing schools that would eagerly participate in a similar program in South Carolina.
Unfortunately, too many politicians and bureaucrats are fine with someone else’s life being damaged by an inadequate education, and refuse to provide one. The Obama family has choices because of wealth. Others in DC who lack the money enjoy the benefits of school choice scholarships.
Either way, parents in Washington, DC have the ability to decide about which classroom their children will sit in. Sadly, few in South Carolina enjoy this same luxury.