Monday, April 26, 2010

Sparks fly at Dems gov debate

Sen. Bill Perkins unfortunately isn't an isolated case.  Sadly, he represents much of the black political establishment around the country (with some very notable and increasing exceptions), which has been co-opted by the unions/Blob on the issue of school reform, so it's great to see a true champion of school choice running for governor in Pennsylvania.  State Senator Anthony (Tony) Hardy Williams has many similarities with State Senator Perkins: both are African-American Democrats representing primarily urban areas with high minority populations, and both benefited greatly by escaping failing public schools and attending private ones.  But the similarities end there.  Sen. Perkins wants to pull the ladder up after him and deny that same opportunities had had to thousands of children of his own constituents in order to keep the teachers' unions happy.  Sen. Williams, in contrast, believes school choice is the civil rights movement of our time. 


Just like his father, Hardy Williams, fought for civil rights in the 1960's, today Sen. Williams is fighting for the rights of the underprivileged. He believes in money-follows-the-child programs, charter schools, magnet schools, faith-based schools, home schooling, etc.  He believes parents should be able to direct their tax dollars to the educational program that makes the most sense for their children.  Sen. Williams attended failing public schools until the 8th grade when he was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to a private school.  That opportunity changed his life and he wants all kids, regardless of race, income, geography to have access to quality education and he is not afraid to fight to give kids that right. 


The Democratic primary is May 18th.  Here is a link to the Senator's campaign website if you wish to learn more or donate (I just did):  Below is article about Senator Williams arguing for school choice at a recent gubernatorial debate:

A Democratic gubernatorial debate held Wednesday  included some of the campaign's biggest fireworks yet, with discussion that at times featured direct confrontations and answers that veered well away from the usual talking points.

Amid a sea of forums and debates already held this year, Wednesday's event, hosted by WITF and the League of Women's Voters, stands out as the most divisive and revealing.

Although the economy and government reform have been the campaign's most prominent issues to date, Wednesday's roughly hour-long debate, which took a much more conversational format than previous ones, focused on the candidates' position on school choice. The starkest contrast was evident between Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel and state Senator Anthony Williams, although Auditor General Jack Wagner and Dan Onorato also weighed in with revealing perspectives.

Williams has made promoting charter and cyber schools, normally a favorite of conservatives, the centerpiece of his campaign, calling it a civil rights issue. At the debate, he said many urban school districts, despite receiving between $16,000 and $19,000 annually per student, produce poor results that doom the students attending them.

"For me, if you're of poor or modest income, you should have the same rights as a person living in an affluent, suburban district," the Philadelphia lawmaker said.

But that drew swift disagreement from Hoeffel, who has positioned himself as a champion of liberal values. Siphoning money from public schools to other education opportunities will cripple an already underfunded system, he said.

"I'm afraid Senator Williams, by allowing money to go to non-public schools, would undermine public education," Hoeffel said.


Sparks fly at Dems gov debate

By Alex Roarty
PoliticsPA Staff Writer

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