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The new school year has kicked off but many students, particularly African Americans in the inner cities, remain interned in dysfunctional and dangerous schools. This is not an accident. Those are the very schools that legislators, bureaucrats, and government employee union bosses want for low-income students. In government education, money goes directly to the education bureaucracy, and it keeps on coming despite dismal results. Should parents want to opt for an independent school, the money does not follow the student. It keeps going to the bureaucracy.
In Washington DC, African American parents got some relief from the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which empowered them to choose the schools they wanted. The program was popular and effective but the education establishment and teacher unions fought it tooth and nail. President Barack Obama opposed the program and teamed with his education secretary, Arne Duncan, to cancel a number of scholarships that had already been issued and limit the number of students who may take advantage. This year the number is a paltry 285.
This all comes under a president who is a product of exclusive private schools, elementary through university, and who sends his own children to exclusive private schools, just like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And as Larry Elder has noted 37 percent of representatives and 45 percent of senators also send their own kids to private school. In the Congressional Hispanic Caucus it’s 38 percent and the Congressional Black Caucus 52 percent. Public school teachers also send their own children to private schools at a high rate, 44 percent in Philadelphia, 39 percent in Chicago, and 38 percent in Rochester, New York. Like politicians, they want the best for their kids, while denying opportunity to low-income African Americans and Hispanics.
This is not a partisan issue. There are currently 29 Republican governors and not a single one is advancing a plan for parental choice in education. The bipartisan ruling class prefers private schools for their own kids. Everybody else, particularly low-income African Americans, gets only the schools the ruling class wants them to have.