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View Diary: True words (110 comments)

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  •  Here comes the privatization (none)
    From the Washington Post--"The Bush administration yesterday proposed nearly $500 million in federal funding to help displaced private school students from the Gulf Coast enroll in private schools elsewhere in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
    The proposal, fleshing out a goal President Bush had announced in a speech to the nation Thursday night, would amount to the largest federal school voucher program ever, if enacted. A groundbreaking school voucher program in the District receives about $14 million a year in federal funding. Washington Post
    •  Real plan or just political distraction? (none)

      That is an interesting story.  But the opening that says

      The Bush administration yesterday proposed nearly $500 million in federal funding to help displaced private school students from the Gulf Coast enroll in private schools elsewhere in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

      Made me wonder whether it was to be a voucher system for any displaced student or only for those who had in attended private schools before being displaced.  After a search I found the actual statement from the Dept. of Education on the proposal. This is the full text of the way the proposal is described there

      Meeting Needs for All Students. Communities in Louisiana significantly impacted by the hurricane had an above average number of children enrolled in private schools--61,000 students of the over 187,000 total in four severely impacted parishes. These significantly impacted Louisiana communities averaged 32% of students attending private K-12 schools--much higher than the 11% national average of private school students.
      • In recognition of the fact that many families who have been displaced by the hurricane have already chosen to enroll their children in private schools, the Department of Education is proposing up to $488 million to compensate families for the costs associated with attending these private schools.
      • This emergency compensation would be in an amount up to 90% of the state's average per pupil expenditure through the 2005-06 school year, with a maximum annual payment of $7,500 per child. These funds will also be subject to appropriate financial accountability measures.

      This statement leaves it unclear as to whether to qualify your child needs to have been enrolled in a private school prior to evacuation, already (as of some date) be enrolled in a new private school, or both, to qualify.  But if you run the numbers: the 61,000 pre-evacuation private school students times $7,500 per student cap gives you something of the same order of magnitude as the $488 million price tag. 

      Given the fact that the Republicans dealing with this in Congress seem to know nothing about this it is probably another one of those cases where the Bush administration does not intend to itself present a real "plan" which could be analyzed and criticized in its particulars, but is simply putting blood in the political waters in Rovian plot to start a distracting political fight.  In this case I suppose the idea is to use the Catholic card counter the race card.

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