Wednesday, April 22, 2009

DC School Vouchers

1700 children from low income families living in The District of Columbia were given vouchers to attend schools of their choice. These families never would have been able to afford these schools without the help of the government. For those of you who don't know, the school system in our nation's capital is an embarrassment to our nation. The public school system in DC spends more money per pupil and has the least to show for it across our nation.
This only goes to prove that throwing money at this is not going to solve the problem. The problems in the DC school system has been going on for decades. Many of the people who live there are poor, and due to the lack of a higher education only makes that problem worse. The poverty is being passed onto the next generations. There is a new sheriff in town to help turn this problem around. Chancellor Michelle Rhee deserves much praise for her hard work and dedication to solving this problem. She has brought innovation and inspiration to improving the system that educates our next generation.
That being said, this problem is not going to be solved anytime soon, as the problems run very deep and are complex. To get back to my original point of these vouchers, the democratic controlled Congress has decided to stop funding this program. This is one of the ways the democrats lose me. They are supposed to be the party of the poor, the party that cares about the children. Those mean republicans don't care about poverty or the educational needs of our low-income children. Than why is it, that the republicans wanted to keep these vouchers in place?
Before you say the same old mantra of this being only 1700 children and what about the rest of them? Some of these children will be graduating this year and it will not affect them, but the rest of these kids have been in an environment that is not only safe, but has challenged them. The bar has been set high and they have made the choice to reach it. These children have the real chance of getting a great education, possibly scholarships to college, and most importantly the chance to lift their families out of poverty. Possibly for the first time in generations. While I agree that every child in this country regardless of race, creed, religion, or economic status deserves a great education, the point is that they will not get it with the current system. So what is the harm in helping these children get a better start in life? These kids will grow up and look back and realize that the government can be used for good and that all people can be given the chance to succeed in this country. A chance to reach the "American Dream". I would bet that if all 1700 of these kids are given the chance to continue at their chosen schools they will, as adults, give back to the community that gave them this opportunity.
President Obama has said that he feels these students should be able to finish school. You won't hear me say this often, but I for one agree with him.
The President is in a sticky situation, two of these children attend Sidwell Friends School. With all the money he made last year, don't you think he could help these two kids get the same education that he chosen for his own daughters?

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