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School vouchers and the public option

George Will writes best when he is angry:

Only two things are infinite -- the expanding universe and Democrats' hostility to the District of Columbia's school choice program. Killing this small program, which benefits 1,300 mostly poor and minority children, is odious and indicative. It is a small piece of something large -- the Democrats' dependency agenda, which aims to multiply the ways Americans are dependent on government.

Democrats, in their canine devotion to teachers unions, oppose empowering poor children to escape dependency on even terrible government schools. Unions and their poodles say school choice siphons money from public schools. But federal money funds the D.C. program, so killing it denies education money to the District while increasing the number of pupils the District must support.

Most Democrats favor a "public option" -- a government health insurance program. They say there is insufficient competition among the 1,300 private providers of insurance, so people should not be dependent on those insurers. But tuition vouchers redeemable at private as well as public schools are a "private option" providing minimal competition with public schools. Government, with 89 percent of the pupils, dominates education grades K through 12. So, do Democrats favor vouchers to reduce Americans' dependence on government education? Of course not.

See also Fred Hiatt, also writing in the Washington Post, "Why is Obama killing off D.C.'s voucher program?"

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