Juan Williams, an Emmy Award-winning black liberal journalist who openly wept with joy during Barack Obama’s inauguration, is now seething with anger after the president terminated D.C.’s "Opportunity Scholarship Program" that would have allowed poor black children to attend the same distinguished schools as his daughters – calling greater choice in education "the key civil rights issue of this generation."
Writing in his Fox News blog, Williams, who authored an acclaimed biography of Thurgood Marshall and just recently called for ending the private ownership of all guns, blasted Obama for doing the bidding of school unions and cutting off any efforts to allow parents to "shop" for better schools with their tax dollars.
"As I watch Washington politics I am not easily given to rage," Williams writes.
"But over the last week I find myself in a fury."
"The cause of my upset is watching the key civil rights issue of this generation — improving big city public school education — get tossed overboard by political gamesmanship. If there is one goal that deserves to be held above day-to-day partisanship and pettiness of ordinary politics it is the effort to end the scandalous poor level of academic achievement and abysmally high drop-out rates for America’s black and Hispanic students," said Williams.
Williams goes on to cite that not only did the program not drain tax money from D.C. public schools, but it improved the test scores of black and Hispanic children who otherwise likely would have failed. The program was so popular and demand for scholarships so high, recipients had to be determined by lottery.
But Obama then terminated the very "hope" he promised to bring, because school unions told him to. So much for ending "politics as usual."
"This reckless dismantling of the D.C. voucher program does not bode well for arguments to come about standards in the effort to reauthorize No Child Left Behind. It does not speak well of the promise of President Obama to be the “Education President,’ who once seemed primed to stand up for all children who want to learn and especially minority children," he continues.
"And its time for all of us to get outraged about this sin against our children," Williams concludes.
Well, Juan. The Libertarian Party agrees with you. Not only is education "the key civil rights issue of this generation," we are the only party that fully embraces choice in education and supports letting parents pick the best schools possible using their own tax dollars, or through scholarships provided by others. Libertarians are the only party forcefully advocating complete school choice and greater choices for parents in the education marketplace.
Washington, D.C. government-run schools, with crime and dropout rates often higher than graduation rates, are proof that government-run one-size-fits-all education harms our children. Thank you, Juan, for speaking out.