Vouchers in DC
Given the shoddy state of the DC public schools, I think it's perfectly understandable why a lot of people are inclined to turn to vouchers as a remedy. What's more, as Fred Hiatt points out, the voucher pilot program in DC, much like other voucher programs in inner-city areas, is good at doing what markets do best -- delivering consumer satisfaction. As Hiatt's column points out, parents with kids in the program are generally much happier than parents with kids not in the program, and there are many more applicants for "Opportunity Scholarships" than there are scholarships to hand out.
One thing missing from Hiatt's long, entirely laudatory, article about DC vouchers, however, is any evidence that educational outcomes are improving as a result. That seems, however, like an important point! According to the article, "preliminary results" from the efforts to compare attainment by kids who won the raffle to that of eligible kids whose parents applied for the raffle and lost "are expected later this spring." Can't we wait until that's out until we start writing the columns about what a success this has been?