November 20, 2003


Republicans Reach Deal On D.C. Vouchers Plan (Spencer S. Hsu, November 20, 2003, Washington Post)

Congressional Republican leaders struck agreement yesterday on legislation to launch the nation's first federally funded school voucher program next fall in the District, tentatively rolling the $13 million measure and the District's $5.6 billion budget into a giant federal spending bill that Democrats conceded they would not filibuster.

The deal leaves the D.C. voucher program poised to clear final hurdles in House and Senate floor votes as early as this weekend, as time winds down before Congress adjourns for the year. The agreement also puts majority Republicans in position to deliver a long-sought victory to conservative education activists and President Bush, though admittedly one based on the slimmest of partisan margins.

Legislation agreed upon last night by a House-Senate conference would permit Secretary of Education Roderick R. Paige to start a five-year pilot program -- in consultation with Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) -- that would provide taxpayer-funded grants of as much as $7,500 to at least 1,700 District schoolchildren for attending private and parochial schools. These "opportunity scholarships" would be limited to children in families earning up to 185 percent of the poverty level -- about $35,000 for a family of four -- and priority would go to children attending low-performing schools.

$7500 is enough to get them into a better school and buy them a home computer.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2003 1:31 PM

Will this improve Bush's and the GOP's image and vote totals among African-Americans (majority of DC residents)? Probably not.

Posted by: AWW at November 20, 2003 1:36 PM

I read this story this morning along with another post.

The second story stated that the omnibus spending bill that is being prepared will also contain a reversal of the FCC's media ownership rules change. Also, there is still a desire to nullify the overtime rules change that the administration proposed. The administration had threatened a veto if either of these things were included. Would a desire for vouchers be enough to hold your nose over the other items?

Posted by: Anonymous at November 20, 2003 1:46 PM

Sure, we can do OT next year.

Posted by: OJ at November 20, 2003 1:53 PM

$13 million is the cost of a couple of ICBM's. Jeez, those Democrats and their masters at the NEA are absolutely terrified of a $13 million dollar program. They know that if it works, then the end is near for their monopoly.

So what if it doesn't help Bush with black voters. This is more important that blacks voting for Republicans. It is about saving kids from the atrocious public schools in D.C. and adding some much needed competition to our education system.

Posted by: pchuck at November 20, 2003 3:09 PM

I certainly agree that the primary importance of this is to help kids get a better education. My note was just that Bush and the GOP will probably not get enough credit for this move.

Posted by: pchuck at November 20, 2003 3:24 PM

The last comment was by AWW, don't know how it said pchuck

Posted by: AWW at November 20, 2003 3:28 PM

All --

ANYTHING that improves the chances of a Black child actually getting an education MUST improve his or her chances of seeing that Blacks are being had by the Democratic Party. May be not today, may be not tomorrow, but soon...

Posted by: MG at November 20, 2003 3:28 PM

When the whites see this program they'll be
clamoring for it two. It will then be necessary
for any party seeking to play to the middle class
to support vouchers.

Posted by: J.H. at November 20, 2003 4:52 PM


If only. Instead, whites see black kids flooding their schools and oppose vouchers.

Posted by: OJ at November 20, 2003 5:02 PM