The DC school voucher plan is still bouncing around in the Senate side of the District’s alternate City Council/School Board (also known as Congress) and will probably be brought up for a vote sometime before members head off for their long winter break. A good review of the proposal and it’s history is in today’s Milwaukee Sentinal-Journal. There’s nothing new here but what’s interesting is that the city of Milwaukee has one of the oldest voucher programs, started in the fall of 1996, giving the newspaper a unique perspective on the issue.
There is one comment in the article, however, that bothers me. One person quoted states that passage of the Washington plan could "open the floodgates" to federal money being used for additional voucher plans. Before you start flooding money we don’t have, wouldn’t it be a good idea to see if the concept actually works. And by "works" I mean improves both the learning of the students who use the vouchers as well as those in the schools they leave, as voucher supporters claim will happen. Although the Milwaukee voucher plan has been in place for more than five years, there hasn’t been much of a flood to replicate the program (Cleveland is the only major area to follow suit), as I have no doubt would happen if vouchers actually made a significant difference.