| Opinion/The Review

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Education reform: The 'choice' is clear

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

Daily Photo Galleries

Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Imagine a federally funded education program that not only delivers what's intended but provides a 162 percent return on investment. Incidentally, this would be the same initiative that President Obama unsuccessfully tried to quash in 2009.

For every dollar spent on the District of Columbia's Opportunity Scholarship Program ($8,500 per grade-school student, $12,000 per high-schooler), it has produced $2.62 in benefits, according to a new study by two University of Arkansas researchers for the peer-reviewed journal Education Finance and Policy.

Also among their findings, the researchers report a graduation rate of 82 percent among participants in the school choice program compared with an abysmal 60 percent for D.C. public school students.

Multiplying the additional number of grads by the value of a high school diploma yields a total benefit of more than $183 million for a program that costs taxpayers $70 million. Never mind the additional savings realized by reducing truancy and delinquency.

Yet Mr. Obama was ready to junk the D.C. scholarship program — vouchers being a pox to the federal edtocracy — until it was reauthorized as part of the budget compromise of 2011.

And what Obama advocates is another early-childhood baby-sitting intervention like Head Start, which, by the government's own accounting, has been an abysmal failure.

What “works” for students, Mr. President, are the competition and academic rewards achieved through school choice.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. The student-loan balloon
  2. Mon-Yough Laurels & Lances
  3. Voter ID: A case reaffirmed
  4. Kittanning Council conundrum: Why disband authority?
  5. Open contract negotiations: Let the sunshine in
  6. Saturday essay: Anatomy of a backache
  7. Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
  8. The Connellsville WCVI building: Another fine mess