According to this USA Today article, Joe Lieberman will hold a hearing into the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The Democrats’ education monolith is cracking. President Obama might have the NEA’s support on this but more people are asking why he isn’t supporting a real path to hope for DC’s children.

Back when he was on the city council for the District of Columbia, attorney Kevin Chavous would occasionally run into fellow Democrats concerned about the state of the USA’s urban schools. They were open to a lot of ideas, but most Democrats have historically rejected taxpayer-supported private-school vouchers, saying they drain precious cash from needy public schools. Chavous, who served from 1992 to 2005, openly supported vouchers. He would ask others why they didn’t.

“Several of them would whisper to me, ‘I’m with you, but I can’t come out in front,'” Chavous says.

That was then.

While vouchers will likely never be the clarion call of Democrats, they’re beginning to make inroads among a group of young black lawmakers, mayors and school officials who have split with party and teachers union orthodoxy on school reform. The group includes Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Washington, D.C., mayor Anthony Williams.

Rep. John Kline has the right idea with regards to DC vouchers:

“Public schools are the foundation of our education system and I am committed to doing everything I can to make sure they get the support necessary to educate our children effectively. But sometimes schools fail their obligation to our children. When that happens, parents and children deserve an alternative. In several cities with failing schools, school choice programs have been successful at giving children fresh hope and opportunities – for a relatively small investment.

Unfortunately, the majority party in Congress recently passed a law that will kill one such program in Washington, DC that has shown great promise for success. This is not only unfair to children who are being forced back into failing schools but also sets a dangerous precedent. I will continue to fight for reauthorizing this program and supporting others like it.”

Thanks for fighting the good fight on vouchers, Rep. Kline. It’s time people told Rep. Obey it isn’t about the unions, that it’s about giving children a world class education. President Obama recently said that he’d let all the children currently in DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program finish out their education in private schools.

What a concession.


Until DC’s schools have been fixed, DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program must continue. Letting current students finish their education in quality schools is a nice start but it’s just that: a start. Ending the program without fixing the public school system is unforgivable. It sells DC’s children out for some campaign contributions from the NEA’s leadership.

That’s unforgiveable.

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