The headline of this article comes from the words of Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, spoken yesterday from the Senate floor as quoted by the Washington Post’s Emma Brown. He is absolutely correct. The fierce opposition toward Ms. DeVos is from those that want to preserve a status in public education that, as she stated during her confirmation hearing, is one in which one size fits all when it comes to teaching our kids. Unfortunate for those on the fringe of the political left, including the teachers’ unions, school choice has already broken through the clouds and is shining its bright light on communities throughout this nation.
Ms. Brown describes a Capitol Hill event in which families were represented who send their children to charter schools and who take advantage of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, the federally funded private school voucher plan here in the District for those living in poverty. She mentions that it was one of 21,000 events across the United States currently taking place as part of School Choice Week. The reporter writes that “Malik Washington, a senior at Archbishop Carroll High School in the District, said that the voucher program had been a gift for him and his sister, who were raised by a single mother working a minimum-wage job.” From Ms. Brown’s piece:
“For our families to have the same opportunities that wealthier families have when it comes to school is beautiful,’ Washington said.”
In fact, it is the same experience that President Obama’s children have had since Sidwell Friends, where his kids go to school, also participates in the OSP. So does Georgetown Day School, Gonzaga College High School, The Jewish Primary Day School, The National Cathedral School, The National Presbyterian School, St. Albans School, St. Johns College High School, St. Peters School, and The Field School, among many others.
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama went along with the unions and throughout his eight years tried to end the scholarships. We now have a chance to greatly expand the number of scholars who can take advantage of these great educational institutions.
Do I wish that Ms. DeVos had done a better job at her confirmation hearing? Of course I do. But here is the bottom line. During her career she has done more through our schools to help those that are less fortunate than 99 percent of our population. In the face of education reform at the federal level that has been going on since the 1950s without much to show for it except billions of dollars being wasted, it is time for something new.
Former Mayor Anthony Williams supports her and that is good enough for me. The Senate should confirm Betsy DeVos.