Last night President Obama said this to Congress and the American people:
But what exactly is the promise of education seems to differ based upon who you are.
If you're a kid growing up in the failing public school system of the nation's capital, that promise ran the risk of being broken before it was even made.
The Omnibus Spending Bill now working its way through Congress contains a clause designed to kill the best opportunity DC children have to escape the trappings of the lowest performing school system in the country and find refuge in charter and private schools.
It's a pilot program designed to test the results of allowing students access to private and charter schools with scholarships. And where better to test it than a place that spends more than $14,000 per student, per year, and barely graduates half its enrollees. You'd think politicians would be lining up to try something, anything new for an area that spends the most but has the worst results. But that ignores the reality of politics and unions in education.
Washington, DC is a federal city that is administered by the federal government, the federal government is controlled by Democrats, and Democrats are a wholly owned subsidiary of the unions, particularly the teachers unions. Teachers unions don't like the idea of school choice and opportunities for poor, underprivileged students to escape the system. In this game money is power, and head count is money. The more students in a school, the more money to that school. Teachers unions aren't nearly as interested in product at the end of the year as they are in the head count at the beginning.
They also aren't big fans of charter and private schools that have significantly better results while spending less money per student, mostly because those charter and private schools are non-union. Children's future be damned, union dues come first.
But don't take my word for it, I'm a right-winger that wants freedom to choose the school people want to send their kids to and allowing them the means with which to do it (diabolical in the eyes of the Left), take the word of the Washington Post.
CONGRESSIONAL Democrats want to mandate that the District's unique school voucher program be reauthorized before more federal money can be allocated for it. It is a seemingly innocuous requirement. In truth it is an ill-disguised bid to kill a program that gives some poor parents a choice regarding where their children go to school. Many of the Democrats have never liked vouchers, and it seems they won't let fairness or the interests of low-income, minority children stand in the way of their politics. But it also seems they're too ashamed -- and with good reason -- to admit to what they're doing.
Again, that the Washington Post, not the Washington Times.
Why try to sneak this past people in a huge spending bill? Because it's not popular, but school choice is. Can't let something your benefactor doesn't want continue, but when it actually benefits the people you claim to be the champion of you sure can't do it in the light of day.
I'm as cynical as they come, but even this one I found to be shocking.
You can read more about the union, er, Democrat plan here.
The real tragedy is the children who are benefitting know their government is out to take away the best opportunity they have to improve their lot in life. See the video below for some of their reactions. (NOTE: these children wrote these letters themselves.)