Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Much Better Morning 

We are reaching a turning point on two important matters on school choice in the nation's capital. First, next week discussion will begin as to whether Congress will continue D.C.'s voucher program. The editors of the Washington Post today issue their strongest defense to date and accuse Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton of trying to take scholarships away from poor people (which is exactly what she is trying to do.)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton's campaign against school vouchers in the District has hit a new low. While proclaiming a desire to protect children, she is seeking to eliminate a program that benefits them and that is valued by their parents. Her actions make it all the more urgent for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to convince Congress that the educational interests of children are more important than party ideology. Failure to do so would imperil not just the 1,900 children in the scholarship program but the essence of school reform in the District.
Also, the D.C. Council is trying to regulate charter schools. I have a letter to the editor on this today.

In what can only be described as an Orwellian political move, the D.C. Council wants to get involved in running charter schools ["Attack on Charters," editorial, June 9].The legislation recently introduced by council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) and council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) strikes at the heart of the reason we have these schools in the first place. Charters were created with the hope that institutions free to develop their own rules would find innovative ways to teach children whom traditional schools have never done a good job educating.

This bill is a slap in the face to the freedom that has led us to have the nation's leading charter movement.But what depresses me most about the proposed action is that the council did nothing while D.C. public schools turned out generation after generation of socially promoted students. Charters are putting an end to this, and they need to be allowed to continue their work without coercion from the council.

Chairman, William E. Doar Jr. PCS for the Performing Arts

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