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Should the Senate Confirm King?

Should the Senate Confirm U.S. Education Secretary Nominee?

The Center for Education Reform continues its vigilance on school choice, particularly in Washington DC with the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), an effort we began in 1996 and that finally culminated in success in the 2004-2005 school year.

As the Senate HELP Committee voted 16-6 yesterday on the nomination of John B. King, Jr. for U.S. Education Secretary, CER Founder and Interim-CEO Jeanne Allen spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the power he has to expand DC’s OSP.

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During one of his hearings, Senator Tim Scott pressed King on why his prospective new Department would sit on $35 million in carry-over funds dedicated for the program.

King’s nomination awaits a full vote from the Senate. As good of a man as he is known to be, perhaps it’s time for the U.S. Senate to send the Obama Administration a signal that denying opportunities to students will not stand.

Related News: U.S. Education Secretary Gets Pressed on DC OSP


Charter Schools Have Succeeded in Saving Public Education From Further Failure

When four education professors author a report about a change in public education governance that actually turns the incentives and power structure from top down control to bottom up accountability, it’s unlikely to result in anything but misrepresentations and confusion. That’s precisely what occurred in the report covered by Business Insider on January 6, one that attempts to discredit the movement that Time Magazine once called a grassroots revolution by comparing it to the mortgage crisis. The authors believe and say as much in their report that parents of students in charter schools – some 2.5 million of them – actually don’t freely make choices. These “we know best” academics infer that poor people, in particular, are not capable of doing so given their poverty or low income status (Note: 60% of all charters have a mean of 60% or more children of color and as many have a mean of more than 60% at risk, but they are not all poor, minority schools.) They clearly have never met a charter parent – or perhaps any low income parent – who despite their challenges know their children better than anyone else about what works for their child’s education.

The education academics’ inference -wrongly – is that we charter schools give a choice to people who are not qualified, much in the same way that the sub-prime housing bust was a result of giving mortgages to people who could not afford to put money down, on houses whose values were inflated. In that case, if housing prices went up, the buyer would win. If not, the taxpayer would lose – and lose they did.

In charter schools, parents make a decision to take their child from, or not enroll them, in the assigned public school. They are in the same

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Senator Scott Presses Acting Education Secretary King on DC Vouchers

Today at the Senate HELP Committee hearing on the nomination of Dr. John B. King Jr. for US Education Secretary, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), an ardent supporter of school choice, asked King about expanding DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program (DC OSP), as DC students and families watched.

Here’s the exchange between King and Scott:

SCOTT:  One area that we may have to agree to disagree on is the DC OSP. I know there are parents and students in the audience who have a very passionate position, as I do, on the importance of the DC OSP.

Especially when you look at your commitment to equity and excellence, and the fact that we have a classic example here in Washington DC of a process and a program that has produced numbers and success in a way that’s inconsistent with other schools.

I believe the graduation rate of DC OSP students is around 90%. Other schools in DC are around 62%, some going as low as 38%. The cost per pupil for the DC OSP is somewhere around $9,000-12,000, and for other DC schools it’s over $18,000. So you get about a 50% better graduation rate, and 88% of those students go on to a two-year or four-year college experience.

It seems to me that the administration, and you as Secretary, should take a second look at that program, and look for ways to integrate it and to use to carry over money of $35 million dollars to fund more scholarships. And quite frankly this is not just my perspective but a bipartisan perspective. You look at the support of Senators like Ron Johnson (R-WI) as well as Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) who all have the same opinion of the DC OSP.

What can we do to move the

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