Just one week after the release of positive findings about the effects of the DC Opportunity Scholarships Program, Department of Education officials in charge of the program have declared that no new recipients will be enrolled for the 2009-2010 year. This decision comes despite the fact that Congress, in the same omnibus bill that was intended to let the scholarships die quietly, had still provided for the program to accept new applicants for one more year while Congress was considering re-authorization.
Apparently the Department of Education and Secretary Duncan are hoping for a swifter end to the program. While the decision not to enroll new students will not be the final word on the issue–and students previously enrolled will be able to continue for the 09-10 school year–it’s a clear sign that the DoE is trying to kill the possibility of re-authorization before this spring’s promised Congressional hearings even begin.
As the Washington Post noted in its editorial, “It’s clear, though, from how the destruction of the program is being orchestrated, that issues such as parents’ needs, student performance and program effectiveness don’t matter next to the political demands of teachers’ unions.” Read the editorial here.
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