In the old days newspaper reporters used to at least try and be objective in their coverage. Even if the editorial pages favored one ideological side or the other such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The New York Times, and the The Washington Post, the stories attempted to be impartial. But today the political leanings of the press has spread seemingly by osmosis into articles which are purported to be stating facts.
Since I am a strong advocate of school choice allow me to bring up one example around this issue. As the Washington Post has been covering efforts in Congress to reauthorize the SOAR Act, almost every story has contained a paragraph identical to the one in this piece by Jenna Portnoy
“A Washington Post review found that most students enrolled in the voucher program attend Catholic schools but hundreds use their voucher dollars to attend schools that are in unconventional settings, such as a family-run K-12 school operating out of a storefront and a Nation of Islam school based in a converted Deanwood residence.”
At least in this instance a quote was included by Michael Musante, the government relations director for FOCUS, indicating that this school has exited the program. But impossible to locate would be a mention of the high caliber institutions that accept students receiving Opportunity Scholarship Program scholarships such as Archbishop Carroll High School, Georgetown Day School, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Gonzaga College High School, Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital, National Cathedral School, National Presbyterian School, Sidwell Friends School, and St. Albans School.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of visiting a small Catholic school located on Capitol Hill. St. Peters enrolls Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade students and was awarded the National Blue Ribbon in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education. To qualify as a Blue Ribbon School, standardized test scores in reading and in math must be among the top 15 percent nationally. St. Peters accepts about 10 OSP scholars a year.
Moreover, it appears that the Post’s Emma Brown has been on a mission to discredit any move by President Trump or U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos when it comes to education. Here’s a portion of one of her news stories today that talks about the President’s budgetary proposal to end funding of the 21st Century Community Centers:
“The proposal is one cut among many in a budget that would slash federal education spending by $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, in 2018. Trump aims to eliminate billions for teacher training and scale back or end several programs that help low-income students prepare and pay for college.”
But not once, at anytime, will readers be told that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that permits Congress to allocate one dime toward public education.
Here’s more from the same article:
“Trump’s push for choice is also likely to face political headwinds: Democrats almost uniformly oppose vouchers. So do some Republicans. And the president’s proposal to allow $1 billion in federal funds to follow poor children to the public schools of their choice — while thin on details — sounds a lot like a proposal that failed to pass the GOP-led Senate in 2015.”
In the District of Columbia, over 41,000 children, 46 percent of all kids attending public schools, are exercising their privilege to utilize school choice by attending a charter school. There are an estimated 22,000 more on wait lists to get in. Ms. Brown may be philosophically opposed to a marketplace in education, or she may want to return to a simpler time when everyone just went to their neighborhood school. However, school choice is here to stay. Fortunately for America’s children, especially those that live in poverty, the rest of the country may finally get to experience what D.C. has enjoyed for over two decades.