Stories like Provincetown’s certainly make more parents into believers on the issue of school choice. In Washington, D.C., parents have fought around-the-clock to keep a popular—and productive—voucher program in place after Capitol Hill killed new funding. But new research suggests that Congress should reconsider. A survey commissioned by the government showed that D.C.’s program “significantly improved students’ chances of graduating from high school” in a very educationally-challenged city. “Students from chronically underperforming public schools experienced graduation rates that were 20 percentage points higher and female students saw graduation rates increase by 28 percentage points.”
The benefits of those diplomas, as FRC has explained for years, can brighten a student’s future—and society’s. High school graduates live longer, make more money, have fewer out-of-wedlock children, and are less likely to end up in prison. In many ways, the dollars that D.C. spends on the voucher program guarantee even bigger savings down the road. Investing in these scholarships would reap major returns to the city in the not-so-distant future, as taxpayers wouldn’t be spending nearly as much on welfare or juvenile and adult delinquency. Let the discussions of re-authorization begin!
Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.