With Education Secretary Margaret Spellings joining them in a show of support, Congressional Republicans proposed Tuesday to spend $100 million on vouchers for low-income students in chronically failing public schools around the country to attend private and religious schools.
According to the New York Times:
The proposal comes as Republicans are showcasing issues intended to energize their party’s conservative base before the midterm elections.
Congressional leaders said it would probably be taken up only next year, when Congress is supposed to update the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind.
This announcement comes a week after the Department of Education quietly released their own report showing that students in private schools did no better, and in some cases did significantly worse, than their public school counterparts. Again, from the New York Times:
Opponents of school vouchers seized on those findings. Citing the report, Ralph Neas, president of the liberal nonprofit group People for the American
Way, said: “The goal of this movement isn’t to help students. It’s to achieve
vouchers at any cost.
Ms. Spellings, at the news conference, called the report’s sample small and its results “basically inconclusive.”She said she had learned of the study — put out by a branch of the Education Department — only through the
newspapers on Saturday and had not read it. She said that the Education Department had not tried to bury the report, as a teachers union leader had
Let me see if I understand. The Education Secretary claims that she had not heard the results of the most extensive and expensive study ever conducted comparing public schools with private and charter schools- not a study conducted by some private organization, but a study commissioned by the Education Department itself. As is invariably the case with the Bush administration, one is left with two choices, either gross incompetence or lying. Or, of course, the more likely alternative, all of the above.