President Clinton proposes a voucher plan that allows low-income tenants to rent from landlords of their choice, escaping substandard and unsafe public housing projects. In July, the president vetoed a similar voucher plan for low-income students in Washington, D.C. public schools, saying the plan "would weaken public education and . . . shortchange our children."
Meanwhile, Michigan voters favor a tuition voucher proposal by 53 to 23 percent, according to a January Detroit News/Mitchell Research & Communications, Inc. poll. Kids First! Yes!, the group pushing the proposal, says it now has enough petition signatures to place the issue before voters November 7. See related story.
The National Education Association's legislative agenda would increase federal spending by 60 percent annually, according to a report by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. The $906-billion boost would mean a tax hike of $12,874 for every American family, with only three percent of the new spending dealing with education. The report is available at www.ntu.org.
Michigan's academic standards earn a grade of D-minus for their lack of clarity and effectiveness, says a report released in January by the Dayton, Ohio-based Fordham Foundation. The report notes the national average grade was a C-minus, and 21 states' standards are so weak as to be "irresponsible." The full report is available at www.edexcellence.net.
More Cleveland voucher students attend racially diverse schools than do their non-voucher public school counterparts, notes the Ohio-based Buckeye Institute. A survey of students in the Cleveland Scholarship Program found that 19 percent attended integrated schools, while only 5.2 percent of public school students did so.
An audit of the federal Department of Education for fiscal year 1998 was unable to account for nearly $32 billion in expenditures. The department "cannot tell Congress or the taxpayers where the money went," said Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra.