Friday, March 19, 2010

A Setback for Educational Civil Rights

An op ed in the WSJ decrying another vote (led by Dems, with silence from the Obama admin) against the DC voucher program.  The only thing I will say in defense of the Obama admin's silence is that in politics you have to pick your battles carefully.  What I (and the Obama admin) really care about is 50 million K-12 kids not being educated properly, not the few thousand in the DC voucher program.  I'm sure I'll catch a lot of flak for saying this, but it's (sadly) probably smart and strategic of Obama to NOT spend huge political capital defending vouchers – still the 3rd rail in the Dem party – so there's a chance of winning MASSIVELY more important battles re. renewal of NCLB and Race to the Top.

That effort is called the Opportunity Scholarship program. Since 2004 it has allowed thousands of children in Washington, D.C., to escape one of the worst public school systems in the nation by providing them with scholarships of up to $7,500.

Despite its successes, it is now closing down. On Tuesday the Senate voted against a measure introduced by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.) that would have extended the program. Throughout this process Mr. Duncan's Education Department and the White House raised no protest.

…I have devoted my life to equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of skin color. I don't pretend that this one program is the answer to all the injustices in our education system. But it is hard to see why a program that has proved successful shouldn't have the support of our lawmakers. The end of Opportunity Scholarships represents more than the demise of a relatively small federal program. It will help write the end of more than a half-century of quality education at Catholic schools serving some of the most at-risk African-American children in the District.

I cannot believe that a Democratic administration will let this injustice stand.


A Setback for Educational Civil Rights

I cannot believe that a Democratic administration will let this injustice of killing D.C. vouchers stand.


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