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Congress Letting Kids Fail In Bailoutville

Written by Warner Todd Huston

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March 4, 2009
 -By Warner Todd Huston

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York has been a self-styled education mayor. He's made all sorts of proposals and tried several different angles -- some good some not so good -- to improve the education of the kids of New York. He has, though, been a proponent of school choice and this advocacy looks to be a success, at least for the kids of Harlem's District 5.

Recently District 5 sponsored the first ever Harlem Education Fair at which 5,000 parents and kids turned out to see what opportunities for school choice can be employed to improve their children's education. 50 different schools, traditional as well as charter, competed for parents' attention and the public money that will follow their children.

As the New York Daily News reports, "Last year, more than 84% of city charter school students scored at or above grade level on math exams, compared with 74% in traditional public schools. In English, 67% met or exceeded standards, versus 58%." This is a very encouraging scene for some of New York's worst schools and parents in the Big Apple are leaping at the chance to improve their children's lives and outlook.

Then we drive south a little ways and enter Bailoutville, also known as Washington D.C. There we see just the opposite trend thanks to the disdain for good education evinced by President Barack Obama and his pal Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL).

You see, even though it has been a great success for the citizens of Washington D.C., Senator Durbin wants to dismantle the very sort of program in D.C. that is causing such excitement in New York City.

This destruction would even cause at least two of Sasha and Malia Obama's new friends at the Sidwell School to lose their place there. Moe Lane over at RedState.com sent a message to President Obama's children to warn them about their friend's fate.

...do you know Sarah & James Parker? They go to your school.

Yeah, them. Are they nice? I’ve never met them, so I don’t know. I do know that their parents really can’t afford to send them to your school without assistance; it’s called the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, and it lets over 1,700 poor kids in DC get scholarships every year. It’s often called a "voucher" program, although people who like school choice wouldn’t agree: they want everybody to have the chance to pick the best schools for their kid, instead of just a small number. Still, this program is helping people who are usually making about half of much as the federal poverty level; it’s hard to dispute that it’s a good one. I’m sure that Sarah & James think that it’s a good program.

Unfortunately, Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL) wants to throw them out of your school.

Lane goes on to talk of the recent Wall Street Journal article that reports on Durbin's nefarious quest to eliminate the program that helps so many of D.C.'s disadvantaged children to get a better education.

The Washington Post also had a story about the Parker children. It its story, the Post quoted the fear that the Parker Kid's mother had about sending back to the horrid and dangerous public schools in D.C. if her voucher program were to be eliminated by an uncaring Congress.

We would like Mr. Obey and his colleagues to talk about possible "disruption" with Deborah Parker, mother of two children who attend Sidwell Friends School because of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. "The mere thought of returning to public school frightens me," Ms. Parker told us as she related the opportunities -- such as a trip to China for her son -- made possible by the program. Tell her, as critics claim, that vouchers don't work, and she'll list her children's improved test scores, feeling of safety and improved motivation.

Congress does not care about the Parker kids and their success.

But, maybe you do. I encourage you to call your representatives and tell them to stop their destruction of a successful education reform.

Let the kids convince you...



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