Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Teachers' Unions, Obama: Killing School Choice

Sheryl Blunt, The Weekly Standard, writes about the calculated efforts of the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, Democrats, and Obama and his administration to stand in the way of poor children in Washington D.C. to have the opportunity to attend private schools via the Washington Scholarship Fund (WSF), a school choice program.

Blunt writes:

As Christmas grows closer, the hopes of thousands of D.C. schoolchildren and their families are appearing dimmer and dimmer, and no one is celebrating more than the teachers' unions.

Congress's failure to reauthorize the federally-funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which has provided more than 3,300 schoolchildren scholarships to attend private schools of their choice in the District of Columbia, has proven fatal. The program could end even earlier than expected.

Last week the Washington Scholarship Fund (WSF), the nonprofit organization that administers the program, announced that Congress's failure to act and the Obama administration's unwillingness to let new students participate, means that the WSF will be forced to end its oversight of the program this summer, when the school year ends.

"[E]xisting children and families in the OSP do not know whether they will have access to an Opportunity Scholarship next year, and children and families not now in the program do not know whether they will have the opportunity to participate next year," the organization's board of directors and president wrote in a December 3 letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "This makes it virtually impossible for children, families, schools, and WSF to prepare for the time-intensive application and renewal processes so critical to the OSP's sound administration for the 2010-2011 school year. Moreover, it denies these families any educational choice because more often than not, charters are not an option."

Board members predict that the likely fallout will be private school closures that will force many scholarship recipients and other students back into the city's troubled public schools next fall, "requiring the District to absorb the additional fiscal costs of educating
both groups of students."

"Effectively, Congress's failure to act to reauthorize this program will send well over 1,000 children to failing and, too often, unsafe schools," the letter states. "That result would, in our view, constitute a moral failing of the highest order on all of our parts."

The teachers' unions do not have the best interests of the children at heart.

Obama and his administration do not care about the over 1,000 D.C. children that will be sentenced to attend failing, unsafe schools.

They're selfishly looking out for themselves.

This isn't about what's best for the children. This isn't about providing children with the best educational opportunities possible. It's certainly not about choice and equality and freedom.

This is about politics and control and enslavement.

..."People are outraged," said Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice. "It is morally wrong to relegate these children to failing schools."

Archdiocese of Washington spokesperson Kathy Dempsey said seven participating Archdiocese schools recently held meetings with parents to discuss what it would mean if the program is not reauthorized soon.

"It's getting down to the wire and our schools and families need to know what their options are," said Dempsey.

Dempsey added that the District could also lose millions of dollars in desperately-needed funding if the program is not renewed, since the program's implementation was conditioned upon the city's public and charter schools also receiving more money.

"The city could lose $54 million in federal education funding if the program ends, plus $25 million if up to 1,700 [scholarship] children go back to D.C. public schools," said Dempsey. If private schools close, something many believe is likely for a few schools that currently serve a high number of voucher students, even more children will be affected.

One group that won't be bemoaning the voucher programs' end is the teachers' unions. This spring National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel bluntly reminded Senators that "opposition to vouchers is a top priority for NEA," and warned them that the NEA would be paying keen attention to how they vote on vouchers.

"The National Education Association strongly opposes any extension of the District of Columbia private school voucher ('DC Opportunity Scholarship') program," Van Roekel wrote in a March 5, 2009 letter. "We expect that Members of Congress who support public education, and whom we have supported, will stand firm against any proposal to extend the pilot program. Actions associated with these issues WILL be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress."

These union members are conscienceless thugs. The politicians, their allies, are equally immoral.

Overwhelmingly, they are Democrats.

...The Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics recently released data showing that the NEA topped the chart as the number one national donor during the 2007-08 election cycle, shelling out $57.6 million in combined federal and state contributions. The American Federation of Teachers was number 25, with more than $13 million in contributions.

Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency put this in perspective, writing that the NEA's and AFT's 2007-08 contributions meant that "America's two teachers' unions outspent AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, General Electric, Chevron, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Exxon Mobil, Lehman Brothers, and the Walt Disney Corporation, combined."

That is stunning.

In political contributions, the NEA and AFT outspent all these corporations COMBINED:


Goldman Sachs



General Electric



Morgan Stanley

Lockheed Martin



Merrill Lynch

Exxon Mobil

Lehman Brothers

Walt Disney Corporation


That really is amazing.

When it comes to quality education and choice, the teachers' unions and the Democrats and Obama are the enemies of the economically disadvantaged, disproportionately minorities.

Obama's not pulling any vouchers out of his "stash" to assist the poor kids in D.C.

No hope for them.

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