Skip to comments.Defeated: Senators vote down the continuation of the D.C. school voucher program
Posted on 03/17/2010 1:00:24 PM PDT by rhema
On Capitol Hill, all eyes have been focused on the House, as efforts to pass healthcare reform have grown increasingly dramatic. But a less-watched debate began in the Senate Tuesday, which offered a second chance for the Washington, D.C. private school voucher program that Congress phased out last year. The effort, however, was quickly squashed by a vote Tuesday night, with most Democrats voting against it along with Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised in January that he would allow debate about the program on the Senate floor. And on Tuesday, the Senate began considering a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which included an amendment by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to reinstate vouchers for district schoolchildren.
The amendment was defeated 42-55, mostly along party lines. Liebermans amendment would have reopened the program to new students and raised the scholarship awards to low-income parents from $7,500 to $9,000 for elementary students and up to $11,000 for high schoolers. These numbers are still lower than what D.C. Public Schools spend per student each year.
Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WVa.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) had signed onto the amendment as co-sponsors.
Feinstein and Bill Nelson of Florida were the only Senate Democrats to join Lieberman in voting for the amendment (Byrd was absent). What is everybody scared of? Why not reauthorize it? said Feinstein from the floor Tuesday, citing the positive achievement reports on the program.
Its been very rare when Ive been involved in a debate in the Senate on a matter, where I havent felt there were some respectable good arguments on the other side, Lieberman said from the floor. But I must say on this one, I cant think of a single good reason to be opposed to this amendment.
Though the majority of the chamber voted against the program, only one senator rose to speak against the vouchers from the floor, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. Several in the Democratic caucus, like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., have voiced their opposition in the past.
The Secular Coalition for America, a longtime opponent of school vouchers, sent an action alert to its constituents, requesting that they call their senators to oppose the amendment. By continuing this program, those of us who do not wish to subsidize someone elses church will continue to be forced to do so through our federal tax dollars, the alert noted, adding that vouchers are designed to aid struggling Christian schools and force students to attend religious schools or remain in the failing public school system.
A 2002 Supreme Court decision, however, found that voucher programs are constitutional as long as they do not impose or influence school choices for parents.
The National Education Association, representing teachers labor unions, also opposes the program.
Congress closed the program to new students last year, cutting enrollment from about 1,700 students to approximately 1,300 students. And voucher advocates are not optimistic that Congress will renew funding for a dying program over the next couple of years to support students that are still attending voucher schools. The D.C. government has not yet moved to fund the program locally, insisting that it is already dealing with serious budget shortfalls.
Meanwhile, President Obama sent Congress his blueprint to reform President Bushs major education initiation, No Child Left Behind. Broadly speaking, the administration plans to focus less on annual testing scores and more on raising graduation rates.
Through this plan we are setting an ambitious goal: All students should graduate from high school prepared for college and a careerno matter who you are or where you come from, the president said over the weekend. He emphasized that priority last week by donating $750,000 of his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize award to nonprofit groups promoting higher education and scholarship funds.
DC voted 93% for 0bama. They got what they deserved today.
Uh oh. Feinstein had better watch herself, or she'll spend a few weeks in the NEA re-education camp.
Democrats can't win with an educated, informed and intellectually competent electorate. They'll NEVER support substantive education reform. Democrats love teachers, and loathe students.
When any union boss says, “Sh*t!,” Democrats squat and ask, “What color?”
What matters is that the Republicans (except Snowe) were on the side of the angels. There won't be as many Dem DC voters in November and 2012; the ones who care about their kids' education will start bailing.
The Democrat Unions screwed D.C. kids and their parents once again.
Can’t have them straying off the Democrat plantation. They may open their eyes.
They have to reauthorize the FAA?
Wow, Olympia is quite the turd. I guess that paleness is more than skin deep.
“DC voted 93% for 0bama. They got what they deserved today.”
You betcha! ‘Can’t have educated future voters in mostly black cities. It’s not the democratic way.
“Money talks and bullsh*t walks.”
—BOBBY BAKER, LBJ’s Senate Bag Man
On the final day of the National Education Associations convention last summer, its outgoing general counsel, Bob Chanin, gave a speech for the ages. After sharing fond recollections of his 41 years as the NEAs top lawyer, he switched gears and started lobbing grenades at conservative and right-wing bastards, including Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. The NEA and its affiliates, by contrast, were the nations leading advocates for public education and the type of liberal social and economic agenda that these groups find objectionable.
Chanins glowing portrait of the NEA was wildly wrong, of course, but so was his characterization of the unions opponents. People of all political stripesnot just right-wing bastardsare starting to realize that the single biggest impediment to education reform is the NEA itself.
Take the nations 4,000 charter schoolspublic schools that operate with less red tape, fewer suffocating union rules, and a higher percentage of minorities and poor students than regular public schools do. In California, 12 of the top 15 public schools are charters, including three in Oakland that cater to exceptionally poor children. Los Angeles charters median score on Californias Academic Performance Index was 728 in 2008, compared with 663 for regular public schools. . . .
This is pure evil.
GOP Senators always cave.
It cost twice as much for non voucher students (public school) as it does for voucher school students.
Public school students graduate at 50% rate compared to 90+% of voucher students.
The cost per student was public school student $15,000 per semester compared to $7500 voucher student per.
“There won’t be as many Dem DC voters in November and 2012;...”
Good luck with that .. but that you were right. The Dem majority in DC is totally overwhelming, even IF (big IF) the parents of voucher students were to go 100% R.
For an arbitration I belong to the NEA for a few short years and it was the only time I ever had to write on my NEA application which party I belonged to and the amount I was contributing.
No wonder they get a D-
Major Policy Weaknesses:
Awards tenure virtually automatically
Fails to make evidence of student learning the preponderant criterion in teacher evaluations
Lacks an efficient termination process for ineffective teachers
Does not ensure that elementary teachers are well prepared to teach reading or mathematics
Waiting to hear from Jesse, Al, the NAACP and the usual suspects.
Here is an alphabetic list of the 164 recipients of NEA's contributions, with relevant web links. All of these were paid for with members' dues money (the union's federal PAC is a separate entity funded through voluntary means).
Thanks for links.
Politicians can’t sink lower than to end a program that was saving taxpayers money and better educating kids.
Slightly off subject.
I am in a career that requires me, at times, to search for missing children, respond to alarms, and investigate crimes.
I work for a large municipality in WA state.
I was investigating an 11 year old girl who did not come home after a public school event and was going through her classroom trying to find her best friend’s full name so we could attempt to get a phone number and address for that family.
On the teacher’s desk was an assignment journal that had an assignment’s written description.
This assignment was about a movie the class had watched about “families.”
On the first line it had written, “to be done in classroom/not to be taken home.”
It then had a list of questions that the students should answer about the movie, which would be written out.
The assignments had been turned in and were stacked under the journal page.
One of the questions was “what are some of the types of families depicted in the movie?”
There were about 5 or 6 acceptable answers written on the journal page. One of them was “two dads.”
The kids then had to explain why each type of family ended up like that....”dad died so their is only mom” or “daddy is gay and loves a man.”
I just shook my head and patted myself on the back for sending my kids to Catholic school.
Not only is this stuff going on, but the school is purposefully hiding it from the parent(s) by keeping the work “in house” so the few parents that look at their kid’s homework won’t see it.
This one reason why school vouchers work so wonderfully. If you don’t like your kids being taught about certain things, shop your dollars somewhere else.
The kids then had to explain why each type of family ended up like that....dad died so their is only mom or daddy is gay and loves a man.
I just shook my head and patted myself on the back for sending my kids to Catholic school.
Not only is this stuff going on, but the school is purposefully hiding it from the parent(s) by keeping the work in house so the few parents that look at their kids homework wont see it.
This one reason why school vouchers work so wonderfully. If you dont like your kids being taught about certain things, shop your dollars somewhere else.
And this book was in the school's library, no doubt:
Yet we have no problem with forcing religious folks with deep convictions about protecting life in the womb to pay for our abortions through government enforced taxation!
He emphasized that priority last week by donating $750,000 of his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize award to nonprofit groups promoting higher education and scholarship funds.
I bet that's the largest amount he has ever given away freely to any cause! ......Oh OH I forgot the year he started his campaign for presidency he and michelle finally opened up their wallets for charities!
I still can’t believe that Congress even did this just for DC kids but no one else.
Oh. And scientologists too? Do they get to keep theirs?
This administrations goal is “raising graduation rates”.
OK, you’re all graduated. No it’s not a McDonald’s coupon it is a diploma. I’ll read it for you.
Achievement in Obama’s America.
Ssshhh. Don’t mention the scientologist. They sue.
Highest infant mortality rate in the U.S.
Highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the U.S.
Second or Third every year in Murders
Second or third (last) in academic achievement in the U.S.
If the capital of the U.S.were moved to Kansas (as it should be) Washington would look just like Detroit in three years.
Washington, D.C. is a tidepool of failed socialist experiments. Doesn't matter if you have the money to opt out.
Shouldn't that be quashed?
Well, OK, that really should be passed.
LOL, yeah, you’re probably right.
There's your reason, Joe.
The Secular Coalition for America, a longtime opponent of school vouchers, sent an action alert to its constituents, requesting that they call their senators to oppose the amendment. By continuing this program, those of us who do not wish to subsidize someone elses church will continue to be forced to do so through our federal tax dollars.”
No doubt the same kind of people who’d have Christians support federal funding of abortion.
I simply despise Snowe.
Why do parents send their children to schools that usurp parental authority? Do they truly not know what is going on or do their children go along with the program just to get through the day, laughing all the while and mocking out the teachers and administrators with their crazy ideas about life, not telling their parents because, hey, it’s just some more crap you have to get through and you can have some fun with it?
In my county, a well regarded public school system decided to question middle school students and high school students about their feelings about sex through a survey by an outside agency. The school said they needed the kids’ input to develop curriculum. The kids treated the whole thing as a joke (even though they were threatened if they refused to take the survey or didn’t treat the survey seriously). Long story short, the kids decided to treat it as a joke, one kid didn’t answer the survey and took it home to show her parents, and the survey was a dismal failure, of no use whatsoever. The parents of the girl made a stink and the state legislature got involved saying that parents had to opt in (not opt out) to further surveys.
Kids know when they are being used.
Anybody, go ahead and walk around the Capitol on a Sunday morning.
After church you will see some of the best dressed dummy robots in a parade. All feelin' good and stuff.
Oh most have prayed to Jesus but have heard words from the devil.
Was she bought off?
HAHAHAHAHAH.... no they won't. DC voters, even the ones whose children are screwed over by this vote, will be just as solidly communist as they have been.
So much for the Democrats looking our for America’s children, esp. those in the lower economic stratus.
Guess they have changed the slogan “No Child Left Behind” to “No Leftist Child Left Behind, but as for the others, screw them.”
“The Secular Coalition for America, a longtime opponent of school vouchers.”
I understand the main objection to vouchers is that so many of them are used at religious, especially Catholic schools. After some of the priest scandals, more people are aware of this issue. I think the SCA also works with some religious groups that support the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.
Some of those "ministers" live very high on the hog with the tithes from their parishoners.
Come to think of it, the "Reverend"Wright, Obammy's pastor does rather well does he not?
President Obama's speech to students this week got plenty of attention, and many conservatives looked foolish by fretting about "indoctrination." They would have done far more good joining those who protested on Tuesday against the President's decision to shut down a school voucher program for 1,700 low-income kids in Washington, D.C.
"It's fundamentally wrong for this Administration not to listen to the voices of citizens in this city," said Kevin Chavous, the former D.C. Council member who organized the protest of parents and kids ignored by most media. Mr. Chavous, a Democrat, is upset that the White House and Democrats in Congress have conspired to shut down the program even though the government's own evaluation demonstrates improved test scores.