Monday, December 14, 2009

Joe Robert blasts Serano Durbin and Norton

Kudos to Joe Robert for excoriating Congressman Jose Serrano, Senator Dick Durbin and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for selling out poor black kids in DC by doing the unions' bidding and killing the DC voucher program.  His letter is posted at, which has an excerpt from the letter addressed to Serrano:

You profess not to want to meddle with local District affairs. So please do not. Mayor Fenty, as well as former Mayors Williams and Barry, a majority of the DC City Council, and even the head of the DC public school system—Chancellor Michelle Rhee—all support the continuation of this program. In fact the DC OSP was enacted with the support of a wide range of democratically-elected local leaders.

Such an easy game for you to play, Mr. Serrano; claim that you want to see the District assert itself as an independent political jurisdiction (and take over funding of the federally-enacted program) when it benefits you politically, even though you know that District spending on education is tied to Congressional oversight and determination.

To add insult to injury, you claim that the DC school voucher program was "imposed by Congress." This is patently false and you know it. The DC voucher legislation was conceived, supported and aggressively fought for by a Democratic mayor, a Democratic school board president, and a Democratic chair of the DC City Council's Education Committee, as well as a larger population sick to death of seeing African-American and low-income kids utterly defeated year after year by a broken education system.

You also suggest that the DC OSP takes money "away" from the public school system. Again, patently false, as you also know. The three-sector initiative that spawned the voucher program ensures that more money flows to traditional public as well as charter schools. Why does the local DC head of public schools want to see the voucher program continue? Because, unlike you, she understands that improving poorly-performing public schools and providing low-income kids with private school opportunities are not mutually exclusive reforms. 

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