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Will proof be enough?

The buzz continues about the recent DC OSP research study, which found that students receiving the scholarships have made significant gains in reading.  We’re still waiting to see exactly how government officials will respond to the findings, though it appears many opponents are ready to dismiss the proven gains.

Some observers are getting impatient.  After the Wall Street Journal questioned whether or not Secretary of Education Arne Duncan purposefully withheld the research findings until after Congress had finished debating the voucher program, a Denver Post columnist did some investigative journalism of his own.  He slams Secretary Duncan for ignoring–and allegedly burying–the study:

When I had the chance to ask Duncan — at a meeting of the Denver Post editorial board on Tuesday — whether he was alerted to this study before Congress eradicated the D.C. program, he offered an unequivocal “no.” He then called the WSJ editorial “fundamentally dishonest” and maintained that no one had even tried to contact him, despite the newspaper’s contention that it did, repeatedly.

When I called the Wall Street Journal, I discovered a different — that is, meticulously sourced and exceedingly convincing — story, including documented e-mail conversations between the author and higher-ups in Duncan’s office. The voucher study — which showed progress compounding yearly — had been around since November and its existence is mandated by law. So at best, Duncan was willfully ignorant.”

See the full article here.  Matt Ladner, of the Goldwater Institute, writes on Jay Greene’s blog of the DOE’s “shameful attempt to bury and spin the report,” even if Secretary Duncan did not deliberately withhold it.

Greene himself, who is chair of the department of education reform at the University of Arkansas, maintains some optimism that the Obama administration will be influenced by the positive research findings.  For those of us not well-versed in educational research methods and interpretation, Greene provides an experienced perspective on the new DC OSP findings in a National Review Online article.

Washington Times columnist Suzanne Fields asks the first lady to examine the results of the DC OSP evaluation and provide leadership in supporting it:

The president and the Democrats say they killed [the DC OSP] because there was no proof that it worked. But now there is. … No one begrudges the president and the first lady their choice of a good school for their children. They can easily pay for whatever they choose. However, if Mrs. Obama, as the nation’s mom in chief, keeps her silence as others kill a program enabling choice for those who can’t easily pay, she invokes the ghost of Marie Antoinette – the children cry for the bread of knowledge, let them eat stale cake.

Find the full article here.


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