On July 31, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) – one of the moderates from Maine – co-sponsored the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR) along with Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator George Voinovich (R-OH). The bill would reactivate the D.C. School Voucher program, which is in danger of being eliminated after the current crop of students graduate. All Republicans should follow Collins’ lead.
This is a program that is great for the students, their families, their neighborhoods, etc. Both parents and students are happier, and the students are a full third of a grade ahead of their D.C. public school counterparts in math after only three years, as well as ahead in reading. The program costs between one-fourth and half of the normal cost of publicly-funded education in D.C. (depending on whether you believe CATO’s numbers or the Heritage Foundation). In return, the nation receives better-educated students who will help create a larger tax base in the future while diminishing their own odds of delinquency.
This program, however, was killed by teacher’s unions, who support Democratic candidates for congressional office and our current president. These same elected officials often talk about the big money special interests hurting Americans through Washington… Officials such as President Obama, whose children go to private schools. Such a shame the same opportunity doesn’t apply to poor minorities.
In short, the program is wildly successful and popular. If we want to help future generations be safer, more economically successful and help lead this country in the 21st-century, we would be wise to follow Senator Collins and Senator Lieberman on this issue.
At the very least, we would be holding the Democrats responsible for their claims of attempted fiscal responsibility- saving between $7,500 and $20,000 per student for 1,700 students (plus future participants in the program) saves at least $12,750,000 for the taxpaying citizens of this country. And all it would take is a simple vote. Easiest $12.75 million ever saved in Washington.