Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Democrats' Great Shame

Yesterday, Barbara Hollingsworth from the Washington Examiner took an impassioned look at the absolute tragedy that's going on in the DC School System.

The DC School Voucher program is of particular importance to me as I was working on the Hill and on education issues when the program was finally approved and implemented. I was in the room when it was finally passed out of Committee, and I remember the joy and tears coming from disadvantaged parents who finally saw a way out for their kids.

Until this year when the Democrats bowed down to their teacher union overlords and eliminated the program.
It's virtually impossible to get rid of federal programs that don't work, so it's even more astounding that a successful education program for low-income African American children is being phased-out by Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Without, I might add, a peep of protest from President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, or members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

What happened to "the fierce urgency of now"? How in heaven's name can Congress sit there bailing out failed automakers, irresponsible bankers and Wall Street tycoons while yanking hope away from 1,700 impoverished District schoolchildren?

Over the past five years, OSP has provided District children with a quality private school education for half the amount spent per student in the city's public schools which, even with Chancellor Michelle Rhee's reforms, are still the second worst in the nation.


Rigorous mandated studies found that OSP recipients tested four months ahead of their public school peers. If allowed to keep their scholarships, they would be two full years ahead at the end of high school -- enough to close the minority achievement gap.


Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, gets late-night calls from desperate parents asking her, "What do we do now?" The daughter of the first black superintendent in the South who has been fighting for the program for 14 years, Ford concedes she has never been so discouraged.

Obama "has not lifted a finger" to help save this educational lifeline, Ford said. Given the fact that his two daughters attend private school and the president himself was the beneficiary of a private scholarship in Hawaii, his lack of engagement is particularly painful.
These scholarships are gone now. And considering how long it took them to get them implemented in the first place, I think it's going to be a long time before the Democrats in Washington fix this great travesty.

Let's vote them out.

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