I know it’s kind of a cute novelty to have a little kid talk to the leader of the free world. It’s not surprising, though, that when I joined the Wall Street Journal‘s Jason Riley a few weeks ago in asking President Obama if he would set the record straight on how school choice has helped kids, I received no answer.
The President is a very busy and important person, and we’re just hanging out here in one of those little flyover states. No important elections are pending. Still, when the U.S. Chief Executive declares on national television that “every study that’s been done on school vouchers…says that it has very limited impact if any,” it merits a clear response. Choice Media TV interviewed three of the leading national experts on the topic:
So let me get this straight. Nearly all gold-standard studies on private school choice show significant academic achievement benefits for students — including an extra month’s worth of learning in reading and a greatly improved chance of graduating high school for many poor kids in Washington, D.C. And that study was commissioned by Obama’s own Department of Education!
My head is spinning: Can you blame me? You’d think after 5 years of being a 5-year-old edublogging prodigy, and closely watching the clash between truth and politics in K-12 education, that I’d stop being shocked and upset. I just don’t know how else to explain the disconnect.
So let me get it off my chest one more time….
Are vouchers and tax credits the magic pill to solve all the problems of education? Of course not. But the record shows it to be one of the more effective policy changes that can help the neediest students. Some people may have their own reasons for ignoring, or for not accepting, the evidence. And that’s truly sad.
But it’s Eddie’s fun privilege to highlight the facts of this debate whenever a major politician weighs in. More attention is good to the school choice debate, but far better when that actually includes the facts.