Obama’s DC OSP extension may still end program

According to the Washington Post, President Obama is set to release budget documents that will include funding for all current 1,716 DC Opportunity Scholarship recipients through their completion of high school.  The move would revise legislation passed in the omnibus bill, which would have required Congressional reauthorization to continue the program in any form after the 2009-2010 school year.  President Obama’s action will ensure that all current recipients will receive the grants every year until they graduate high school–with no Congressional action required.

This good news for the short term could prove to be dangerous news for the long-term, however.  It appears that the Obama administration’s budget will do nothing to allow new students into the program.  At the end of the day, it would still mean the killing of the program.

The dangerous part is that by making this compromise, President Obama will likely satisfy many critics and perhaps slow the movement that seeks more quality school options for all families.  There’s no question that the decision to extend current scholarships was a good one that will help many children receive a better education, but it doesn’t go far enough.  Why should we give up on the children who aren’t yet receiving the scholarships?

One silver lining is that the current recipients’ remaining school years would be an opportunity for continued study of the program’s effect on their performance.  The longitudinal data gained could provide a clearer understanding of the impact of parental choice on students and families, which everyone with the children’s best interest in mind should support.  Of course, that’s assuming that such research would be funded and that the results would be taken into consideration–a big assumption, given how lightly the recent findings were taken.

Find more about the President’s budget documents and their impact on the DC OSP in this Washington Post article.


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