Michelle Rhee’s Policies Still Linger

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

When she served as chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s public schools, Michelle Rhee’s policies provoked scorn from Capital City teachers, to put it mildly. Long gone from the D.C. scene, Rhee’s approach is still benefitting D.C. students.

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“Ninety-one percent of the students on opportunity scholarships graduate from high school compared to 77 percent of the students in D.C. public schools,” Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last Thursday. Currently, there are 22 states with private school funding programs, according to Dr. Wolf.

Additionally, some states have Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs), many of which can be used for special education, Wolf related. Internationally, “The Netherlands has had government-funded voucher programs for 100 years,” Wolf said. “Sixty percent of the students there go to private schools and 40 percent attend public schools.” Thus, contrary to assertions of voucher opponents, widespread use of them does not make the state wither away and die.

In the United States, at the federal level, “We already have Title I education spending for the poor,” Ramesh Ponuru of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) pointed out in the same panel Wolf was on. “Let’s let that money follow children to whatever school they attend.”