Friday Night Massacres

Needing to one-up their apparent role-model, the Nixon administration, President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan have committed two Friday night massacres instead of Nixon’s one (on Saturday). 

First, Duncan chose to release the positive results of the D.C. voucher evaluation late in the day two Fridays ago.  He did this despite the fact that “IES stopped releasing reports on Fridays several years ago when an important report just happened to come out on that day and critics accused the agency of trying to bury it.”  Clearly, Duncan intended to bury this report so that the positive results would not hamper their plans to kill the D.C. voucher program despite prior commitments to follow the evidence rather than predispositions or ideology.

And on this most recent Friday afternoon Obama and Duncan ordered the organization operating the D.C. voucher program to stop accepting applications for next year.  Keep in mind that Congress did not require this action.  Congress simply required that the program had to be reauthorized before it could continue.  By stopping new applications Obama and Duncan have presupposed the outcome of that reauthorization vote, or as the Washington Post put it, they have “presumed dead” the program. Of course, it is quite likely that Congress will fail to reauthorize the program (following the Obama administration’s wishes), but by presupposing the program’s demise, they make its end a virtual certainty.  Even if Congress were to reauthorize there would be no new applicants to put into the program.

Why do Obama and Duncan feel the need to take all of their actions against the D.C. voucher program on Friday afternoons when those actions would receive the least attention?  Do they wish to be sneaky political tricksters of the sort they’ve condemned?  Why don’t  they have the intellectual and political courage to defend their actions against the D.C. voucher program in broad daylight?  Shame.

One can only imagine what is coming this Friday afternoon.

(edited for clarity)

9 Responses to Friday Night Massacres

  1. Shakes says:

    What is the legal authority to shut down this program? People claim that it will be killed by Congress, but it hasn’t been killed yet. How is what they are doing legal?

  2. They haven’t shut down the program… yet. They’ve just ordered the program to stop accepting applications for next year on the assumption that Congress will fail to reauthorize it. But to assume it is to make it a reality.

  3. […] than dwell on the latest anti-D.C. scholarship program developments that have me burning angry again (I hope this group stands up and does something about it), I […]

  4. Shakes says:

    I understand they haven’t completely shut it down, but they just recinded the vouchers for all the current applicants and they aren’t taking applications for next year. Where is the legal authority to do that? This program is still authorized. If Congress makes the law than the Ed Sec should abide by the law and give those families their vouchers back.

  5. You raise an excellent question, Shakes. Someone should ask Clint whether the administration is vulnerable to a lawsuit on this.

  6. […] has been percolating for more than ten days, ever since the U.S. Department of Education staged a stealthy and too-late-to-matter release of a study showing that DC’s voucher program works. But the […]

  7. […] Now, the plot has thickened — and so has the duplicity. With no legal basis for doing so, the department has preemptively declared the program dead by forbidding it to accept applications for the fall. […]

  8. […] but did it with Ninja-like stealth. The weapons: Nearly impossible reauthorization requirements, late Friday announcements, and politically expedient promises to keep kids currently attending good schools from being very […]

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