What happened? She got out of her smug bubble and took the time to talk with actual parents of students.
The Daily Beast. (No link. Sorry. Look it up yourselves.)
When I began my stint with the D.C. public schools, I had strong ideas about what education reform should look like and what it shouldn’t look like. I believed wholeheartedly that we had to have a very strong focus on teacher quality.
… I drew a very deep line in the sand when it came to vouchers. As a lifelong Democrat I was adamantly against vouchers. Vouchers provide public funds to parents who need help in paying tuition for private or parochial schools. Proponents, mostly Republicans, see vouchers as leveling the field and broadening choice for families. Detractors, usually Democrats, decry the use of public funds to pay for private education.
But soon after I arrived in Washington, D.C., I was in a pickle. The District of Columbia had Opportunity Scholarships, a federally funded voucher program that helped poor families attend private schools. The program was up for reauthorization, and there was a heated debate going on in the city.
The typical mom would come to the meeting armed with data and talking points. For example:
“I currently live in Southeast,” she would say. “Our house is zoned to the local elementary school. I have done quite a bit of research into the school and was shocked to find that only 20 percent of the children are operating at grade-level proficiency. That means my child has an 80 percent likelihood of failure. That’s simply not acceptable for me and my family.”
Absolutely right, I would think.
“But we didn’t get in. I was devastated. So now I don’t know what to do. I went to DCPS. My parents went to DCPS. I believe in public schools, but I simply can’t send my child to the local school. Can you help me?”
It was a painful experience for me, each and every time. My instinct was always to tell the mother that I’d let her kid into Mann or Key and make the school make room for one more child. But honestly, it just wasn’t doable. Or fair. There were so many parents who visited me with these requests and so many more who were on waiting lists for those schools who had followed all of the rules.
Oh, I could have found a spot for them at another D.C. public school, perhaps marginally better than their home school. But that wasn’t what they wanted. They were looking for the exact same thing that I wanted for my two girls: the best school possible.
The woman had an epiphany- democrats do not care about children. They care about teacher’s unions and their contracts. PERIOD.
The left is vile.
Most people in this country do not favor vouchers in education, because they don’t want public dollars going to private institutions or businesses. But the logic holds absolutely no water.
We have federal Pell grants that low-income students use all the time to attend private colleges. Pell grants aren’t limited to use at public universities. We have food stamps that low-income families redeem at nongovernment grocery stores. And let’s not forget about Medicare and Medicaid.
Think about it this way. Say your elderly mother had to be hospitalized for life-threatening cancer. The best doctor in the region is at Sacred Heart, a Catholic, private hospital. Could you ever imagine saying this? “Well, I don’t think our taxpayer dollars should subsidize this private institution that has religious roots, so we’re going to take her to County General, where she’ll get inferior care. ’Cause that’s just the right thing to do!”
No. You’d want to make sure that your tax dollars got your mom the best care. Period. Our approach should be no different for our children. Their lives are at stake when we’re talking about the quality of education they are receiving. The quality of care standard should certainly be no lower.
This article has been adapted by arrangement with HarperCollins, from Radical: Fighting to Put Students First by Michelle Rhee. Copyright 2013 by Michelle Rhee.