U.S. Supreme Court gives school choice greatest victory in 18 years

Yesterday, in its final day of the current term, the United States Supreme Court, in a five to four decision, ruled in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue that a school tuition tax credit program in Montana should have been allowed to include religious schools as recipients of the scholarships. The program was shuttered by the Montana Supreme Court because it permitted parents to send their children to sectarian schools as well as those that are nonreligious.

The finding of the court, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, could not have been clearer:

“The application of the no-aid provision discriminated against religious schools and the families whose children attend or hope to attend them in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the Federal Constitution.”

In other words, the failure to allow parents to enroll their children in a religious school interfered with their free exercise of religion.

It is the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision since Zelman v. Simmons-Harris in 2002. In that case, the Court found that the inclusion of religious schools in a Cleveland private school voucher plan did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Zelman was a tremendous and hard-fought victory for school choice, and like Espinoza, was argued by the libertarian Institute for Justice. But there was also a tremendous difference between the two legal actions.

Cleveland’s state constitution does not include a Blaine Amendment, language contained in 37 state constitutions that prohibit taxpayer funds from going to religious schools. Here is what I wrote about Blaine Amendments last January when the U.S. Supreme Court head arguments in Espinoza and I predicted the eventual decision would be a victory for educational freedom:

“The heart of the today’s argument will revolve around the concept of the Blaine Amendment. Blaine Amendments were included in the constitution of 37 states in the 19th century. During this period, schools were dominated by Protestants and there was a rejection of the new wave of Catholic immigrants to this country. Blaine Amendments are named after U.S. Senator Blaine who in 1875 attempted to get a constitutional amendment passed mirroring those that were later adopted in state constitutions preventing public money going to religious institutions. Public schools at the time were already religious, according to the I.J., teaching nondenominational Protestant ideas. Catholics sought to influence the nature of instruction taking place in schools, and when that effort failed, sought funding for their own educational institutions.”

Blaine amendments have been used time and time again in the past to invalidate school choice plans that have allowed parents to pick religious schools. Now that this decision has come down and Blaine Amendments invalidated, look for the floodgates of private school choice programs to open widely across the country.

The Washington Post, as it has done since I met with former editorial page director Colbert King in 1999, again came out strongly in favor of the Supreme Court’s reasoning:

“We think there is value in, and have supported, programs that — like the one envisioned by Montana lawmakers and D.C.’s successful Opportunity Scholarship Program — help low-income parents afford a choice in their children’s education, a choice that parents empowered with the economic means exercise by moving to a particular school district or sending their children to private school. It is important to remember that the scholarship goes to the child, and that the child’s family then decides which school best meets the needs of individual students. Schools that participate in these programs must meet academic requirements established by the state or locality, and some religiously affiliated schools have proved successful in boosting student achievement, attendance and civic engagement.

Ms. Espinoza chose Stillwater Christian School not because she wanted to advance its interests but because she wanted a school that fit her daughters’ needs and was a place where they could thrive. They — and other students who stand to benefit from opportunities opened up — are the true winners.”

In the midst of a pandemic, severe economic strife, and racial unrest, we can smile for a moment over the Supreme Court’s decision. It is possible that in the future there will be other wranglings over the constitutionality of programs that allow parents to pick the school of their choice for their children. But there will never be one as significant as Espinoza.

As we approach the Independence Day Fourth of July celebration, freedom just won a great triumph.

The fight for educational equity is not over

I’m inspired this morning by the words of my friend Virginia Walden Ford, the woman who became the symbol of the fight for private school vouchers for disadvantaged children in Washington, D.C. Below I reprint her Facebook post from yesterday:

I am a Black Woman. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. When my father, William Harry Fowler, was named as the first Black Assistant Superintendent of the Little Rock School District in the late 60’s, “they” burned a cross in our yard and threw a rock through our window. From that point forward, I can say that I have seen and experienced racism my entire life.

Systemic racism is rooted deeply in America and, therefore, cannot easily be corrected. For many of us who have spent a lifetime fighting for racial justice, this is a moment of reckoning that has eluded us for far too long.

I read this today and was inspired.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced”…James Baldwin- from The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings (2010)

Therefore, I believe that for any change to occur, that it absolutely must be faced. That is why I am happy to see young people taking to the streets to exercise their constitutional right to protest. The world needs to know that BLACK LIVES MATTER. Seeing their faces in protest means America MUST face the issues that have been prominent in our lives far too long.

I have been fighting for justice for a long time, longer maybe than many of the young people who are out protesting have been alive. In all of those years of activism, I have learned about the power of love and the power of hope. Even in times of great struggle, it is important that we do not forget love or lose hope. We can make the world better, but only if we work together. When we come together as people of all races, sexes, and creeds we create change.

When we were fighting for educational opportunities for the young people of Washington, D.C., people tried to divide us. Well, first they tried to dismiss us, and when they could not do that, they tried to defeat us, and when they could not do that, they tried to divide us. It is important that the people fighting for justice today remember the lessons that we learned then. Do not let the most extreme voices define you. Stay true to yourselves. Find people who want to help and work with them. Forgive. Be kind. But fight HARD for what is right and never give up.

I am not done fighting for educational opportunities for kids. I am inspired by the young people making their voices heard. They give me hope for a better world. Let us get to work making this happen.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Blessings,
Virginia Walden Ford

We can never be done fighting for educational opportunities for kids. I may be overly optimistic, but I believe that if we had figured out how to close the academic achievement gap years ago we would not have seen the pandemic kill so many in the Black community. If we had solved the challenge of providing all children a quality education independent of their zip codes then the economic damage we are witnessing today would not have fallen so much harder on minorities.

We know the right thing to do when it comes to public education reform. We must provide quality seats to all students in whatever form that takes, private school vouchers, charter schools, or traditional ones. But we must act now. This should be the lesson from current events.

High COVID-19 death rate in D.C.’s Wards 5, 7 and 8 was predictable, just look at academic achievement gap

Fully eighty percent of those who have passed away from the Coronavirus in the District of Columbia are black. Almost all of these cases involve individuals who live in Wards 5, 7, and 8, the poorest areas of the city.

The news has been flooded with stories explaining that those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to passing away from the disease. Medical experts and social scientists have also known for years that when people live in poverty their environment is characterized by negative social determinants of health that lead to the chronic illnesses that are now contributing to the demise of these individuals. Adverse Childhood Events also plague this population, and having a high number of ACE’s has been shown to be a precursor to the development of serious maladies.

It is all one horrific circle, one that starts from the time kids come onto this Earth. Perhaps the first real indicator of the problem is the three-year-old boys and girls that come into our schools already academically behind. The gap in knowledge between white students and minority pupils in the nation’s capital is 60 points. It is perhaps the largest in the country, and is a span that despite twenty-five years of public education reform has not budged.

I have written time and time again about our need to take this achievement gap deadly seriously. Until we ensure that all students receive a quality education, we will never break the cycle that is now taking away the future from our neighbors. We must ensure that those brave souls who create schools serving the most at-risk students have the financial support and other resources that can reverse the situation for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

There are numerous charter schools that have taken on this challenge. But there are so many obstacles in their way that it is a miracle that their visionary leaders don’t run the other way. Some of these blockades are put in place by our city leadership in the form of the inequitable funding that charters receive compared to the traditional schools. Another challenge is the severe lack of permanent facilities that our Mayor will not talk about while ignoring a chorus of pleas to turn over vacant DCPS buildings. Our own charter board contributes to the issue through bureaucratic oversight of existing schools and those groups that want to create new classrooms.

Until we are serious about closing the academic achievement gap we will never eliminate the health gap that we are experiencing for all to see today. There are no words to describe the horror of the current situation.

However, I’m an eternal optimist so I believe something good can come out of this tragedy. Someone out there could decide that enough is enough. One person can still change the world.

2020 Presidential election is turning into a missed opportunity to improve civil rights of children

The other day I was emailing with Joel Klein, the first Chancellor of New York City School under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The conversation brought me back to his tremendous 2014 book, “Lessons of Hope.” He wrote:

“The issue of poverty and its effect on our ability to educate kids dominates the contemporary debate on school reform and improvement. From the day I became chancellor, many people told me, “You’ll never fix education in America until you fix poverty.” I’ve always believed the reverse is true: we’ll never fix poverty until we fix education. Sure, a strong safety net and support programs for poor families are appropriate and necessary. But we’ve recently celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, and it seems fair to say that we must seek new approaches as our problems increase.

Safety-net and support programs can never do what a good education can; they can never instill in a disadvantaged child the belief that society can work for for him in the same that it works for middle- and upper-class children. it is the sense of belonging-the feeling that the game is not rigged from the start-that allows a child to find autonomy, productivity, and ultimately, happiness. That’s what education did for me. And that’s why, whenever I talk about education reform, I like to recall the wise, if haunting, words of Frederick Douglass, himself a slave, who said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair men.”

This election cycle it feels like we have given up trying to build strong children. The subject of public education is rarely mentioned, even though the last civil rights struggle in this country is being able to provide an excellent public education for everyone no matter their socioeconomic status. On the national stage Democratic candidates, if they talk about schools at all, make sure to broadcast their opposition to charters.

Even Mr. Bloomberg, who during his tenure as New York City’s chief executive drove enrollment in charters from 4,442 students in 18 schools to 183 charters serving 71,422 students, said this the other evening about the issue during the Presidential Democratic debate: “I’m not sure they’re appropriate every place.”

It’s all terribly discouraging. With academic proficiency rates across the country in the thirty percent range, an achievement gap between affluent and poor that only continues to rise, and stagnant national standardized test scores, no one is offering a blueprint to reinvent what is clearly not working.

Well, I’m not running for office and no one has asked my opinion but I will provide one anyway.

We desperately need to eliminate the top-down bureaucratic nature of teaching kids. Elected representatives must introduce school choice plans that impact as many children as possible as quickly as possible. These would include private school vouchers, educational savings accounts, tax credit scholarships, or charter schools. I’m completely agnostic about the specific structure, I just know that we need to immediately introduce competition for students that will drive all educational delivery systems to improve.

We say that our goal is to provide a quality seat to every student who need one. But we have been saying this for 25 years now.

Here in the nation’s capital we must greatly increase the number of charters. But first, so that they have a place to open, we need to pass a law that states that any approved charter or replicated campus gets the right to a permanent facility.

I’m done begging Mayor Muriel Bowser for buildings. I see the answer in the courts. Let’s teach her a lesson that no matter your position of power you cannot skirt the law. Hasn’t she said exactly the same thing about the President?

Here’s the bottom line. I’m out of patience and I’m completely frustrated. If you are a parent trying to get your child into a quality school in this city and you find out that there is a wait list of 2,000 kids, then the only option you have is to move. For most families, relocation is not possible.

Is this what we want for our town?

I’m done with the leaders who state they care about public education. They do not.

In State of the Union speech, President calls for expansion of private school vouchers

Here are the remarks of President Trump last evening on the subject of school choice:

“The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Yet, for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools. To rescue these students, 18 States have created school choice in the form of Opportunity Scholarships. The programs are so popular, that tens of thousands of students remain on waiting lists. One of those students is Janiyah Davis, a fourth grader from Philadelphia. Janiyah’s mom Stephanie is a single parent. She would do anything to give her daughter a better future. But last year, that future was put further out of reach when Pennsylvania’s Governor vetoed legislation to expand school choice for 50,000 children.

Janiyah and Stephanie are in the gallery this evening. But there is more to their story. Janiyah, I am pleased to inform you that your long wait is over. I can proudly announce tonight that an Opportunity Scholarship has become available, it is going to you, and you will soon be heading to the school of your choice!

Now, I call on the Congress to give 1 million American children the same opportunity Janiyah has just received. Pass the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act — because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school.”

In the nation’s capital, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked expansion of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that denies our city an additional $15 million a year for the education of our children and denies making this program permanent.

In 2020, no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school. This should be a fundamental civil right.

It is about to get much harder for opponents of school choice to block parental freedom

Today, the United States Supreme Court will hear Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, a case argued by the libertarian nonprofit Institute for Justice. Here’s the background of this litigation which is explained by the Institute much better than I could ever do:

“In 2015, the Montana Legislature passed a program that provided a tax break to Montanans if they contributed to charitable organizations that provide scholarships for children. The program allowed families to use those scholarships at any private school in Montana—religious or nonreligious. But the Montana Department of Revenue interpreted the state constitution to forbid the participation of religious schools. Representing families who were unable to participate in the program because they send their children to religious schools as well as one family who was able to use the scholarship before it was suspended, the Institute for Justice sued and won on their behalf at the trial court. But the Montana Supreme Court reversed that ruling and declared that the entire program was invalid because it included religious options for parents. By striking down the entire program, even for those children attending secular private schools, the court made the impact of the discrimination even worse. Thankfully, families were permitted to continue receiving scholarships through the 2019-2020 school year.”

Espinoza is relevant to two of the twenty seven amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The families involved who sought to use the scholarships to attend a Catholic school claim that their free exercise of religion is being obstructed.

Amendment 17, section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The action of the Montana Supreme Court, according to the Institute for Justice, denied equal protection of the law simply based upon their religious beliefs.

In addition, the organization argues that restricting families from sending their children to parochial schools under the scholarship plan represents discrimination against religious beliefs that is prohibited by the Establishment Clause.

The heart of the today’s argument will revolve around the concept of the Blaine Amendment. Blaine Amendments were included in the constitution of 37 states in the 19th century. During this period, schools were dominated by Protestants and there was a rejection of the new wave of Catholic immigrants to this country. Blaine Amendments are named after U.S. Senator Blaine who in 1875 attempted to get a constitutional amendment passed mirroring those that were later adopted in state constitutions preventing public money going to religious institutions. Public schools at the time were already religious, according to the I.J., teaching nondenominational Protestant ideas. Catholics sought to influence the nature of instruction taking place in schools, and when that effort failed, sought funding for their own educational institutions.

While opponents of school choice have over the years successfully utilized state Blaine Amendments to block implementation of school choice programs that have included sectarian facilities, there have been two important legal developments that have weakened this line of attack.

First, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, another school choice case argued by the Institute for Justice, the Supreme Court in 2002 found that a Cleveland private school voucher program that included Catholic schools provided tuition money to students and did not directly support religious entities. Then, in 2017, the Court ruled in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc., vs. Comer that preventing a church from getting access to a state grant available to other nonsectarian schools in order to improve the safety of public playgrounds was discriminatory against the religion.

School choice advocates were disappointed that Trinity did not invalidate state Blaine Amendments. This will come from the ruling this summer in Espinoza. Watch for the conservative-leaning Supreme Court to overturn the actions around the scholarship program in Montana.

According to I.J. president and general council Scott Bullock, “If we’re successful in Espinoza, we’ll remove the largest legal obstacle standing between thousands of children and their chance to receive a better education.”

Successful they will be.

D.C. Auditor misinterprets study on school enrollment and education reporters follow

Last week the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor, together with the Johns Hopkins School of Education Center for Research and Reform in Education, released what it referred to as a comprehensive study on annual enrollment projections for DCPS and charter schools in the nation’s capital. While it found that these estimates are oftentimes inaccurate, this turns out not to be the major conclusion of the voluminous report.

The Washington Post’s Perry Stein quotes Kathy Patterson, the D.C. Auditor as stating, “the findings illustrate the unintended consequences of having a city with many school options for families.”

Not to be outdone, WAMU’s Debbie Truong includes this line from Erin Roth, research director in the auditor’s office, “Everything you do is going to impact other schools. Nothing is in isolation.” 

So now let me tell you what is actually going on here. The District has an exceptionally active school choice environment in which it has been estimated that 75 percent of children attend a school other than the one in their backyard. The investigation found that parents who chose a school other than their neighborhood school tend to pick a facility that has a lower proportion of at-risk children than the one their offspring would be assigned to attend. This has the impact of lowering the number of students attending the neighborhood school, thereby decreasing the amount of revenue this school receives since in D.C. money follows the child. The authors worry that the loss of dollars will harm the very students that need the most financial support.

Ms. Patterson refers to this as an unintended consequence. She has this exactly backwards. The cause and effect are operating exactly as planned. The only problem here is that the government is failing to react according to the voice of the consumers. Instead of keeping the neighborhood school operating as it has in the past, it needs to heed the demands of families and either close the school, merge it with one that is instructing at a higher level, or turn its management over to a charter school.

Please allow me to illustrate my point. The following paragraph comes directly from Ms. Stein’s article:

“For example, only 9.8 percent of students who live in the boundaries of Anacostia High — a neighborhood school in Southeast Washington — have elected to attend the school. It has an at-risk population of 81 percent, and 35 percent of students require special education, according to city data. By comparison, Thurgood Marshall Academy — a charter high school near Anacostia High — has an at-risk population of 54 percent. Twenty percent of its students have special education needs.”

Now every parent knows that you do not want your child to attend Anacostia High. The school has been a train wreck for decades. The logical conclusion would be to get your child into Thurgood Marshall if you can, a Performance Management Framework Tier 1 school that is successfully closing the academic achievement gap. Ms. Stein failed to mention that while Anacostia has empty hallways, Thurgood Marshall has been consistently at full enrollment. The movement of students is as intended as possible.

The researcher from the Auditor’s office seems to imply that Thurgood Marshall has somehow negatively impacted Anacostia High. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the charter school has done is provide a life preserver to kids who would probably end up in jail or worse. Instead, graduates of Thurgood Marshall go on to college.

The study is a vehicle to impact public policy in a way favored by the authors. Here we have a review of enrollment projections being turned into an polemic for more taxpayer earnings being given to failed educational institutions.

The paper has many other findings, such as charter schools tend to lose students during the school year while DCPS sees the opposite trend. We have known about this mobility issue for 20 years. What I was most shocked to find contained in this work is that in 2020 there is still no correction to a DCPS’s school budget, as is the case with charters, when the May estimate for the following school term turns out not to be true the following October.

You have got to be kidding.

Perhaps charter school isomorphism should be expected in D.C.

It is impossible for anyone who supports an educational marketplace in the nation’s capital not to begin the day with a smile when a Washington Post story appearing this morning by reporter Perry Stein begins with the headline, “DC Kicks Off the School Year with a New School – And More Choices.” The article focuses on the Allison family that selected the new Bard High School Early College for their daughter Taylor. The Post reporter describes Bard as a “campus in Southeast that promotes a rigorous liberal-arts curriculum and lets students graduate with a high school diploma and a two-year associate degree.”

Because Ms. Taylor lives in Shaw she will be taking two Metro lines and a bus to reach this facility.

Keep in mind that Bard is part of the traditional school system. But its offerings look like a charter. This is what over 20 years of school choice has brought to Washington, D.C., and I have to say it is a beautiful situation.

Charters may not be knocking it out of the park when it comes to standardized test score results, and we have certainly discussed here the reasons for the current academic status of the sector. But these alternative schools that teach 47 percent of all public school students have accomplished one of the major goals when they were created: They have forced DCPS to get much better than it was. Competition for students has succeeded in raising scores on the PARCC’s reading and math examinations for the last four years. As the DC Public Charter School Board has pointed out, its pupils have seen a steady increase in results since 2006.

I bring all of this up first because it is great news, but also because of a talk I heard the Center for Education Reform’s CEO Jeanne Allen give in 2016. She decried the isomorphism that she stated was beginning to characterize the nation’s charter schools. She defined isomorphism as “the process that forces one unit in a population to resemble others who face similar environmental conditions.” Her complaint is that charters are now resembling the neighborhood schools that they were meant to reform. But today I’m wondering whether this is the natural outcome of a maturing of the charter school movement. In other words, isomorphism has arrived and we could have predicted that this would be the case.

The downside of the current state of affairs is that not all children in the District are learning today in a quality school. Actually this is the sad reality for thousands of students. So the fact that charters may look like regular schools and the regular schools may mirror what charters are doing does not take away from the fact that we still desperately need expanded school choice. We are only at average proficiency rates of 30 percent in reading and math. That’s right, 30 percent. When our educational leaders say that there is still much work that needs to be done, they are expressing the understatement of the century.

The path we are on is the right one, but it is like watching someone run in slow motion. We desperately have to pick up the pace. Today.

D.C. charter schools need a legal support organization

Please don’t get me wrong this morning. I am not seeking to disparage the fine work of established entities such as FOCUS, The DC Association of Chartered Public Schools, The Center for Education Reform, The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, or Charter Board Partners. But there is a key missing ingredient in the constellation of nonprofits that support school choice in the District of Columbia. We need a group of litigators.

I imagine a new center that will bring legal challenges in the name of educational freedom. Its mission would be similar to the libertarian Institute for Justice. From this organization’s website:

“The Institute for Justice combines cutting-edge litigation, sophisticated media relations, strategic research, boots-on-the-ground advocacy and much more to fight on behalf of those individuals who are denied their constitutional rights. Despite the challenge of taking on powerful government officials and entrenched precedents, IJ is successful in winning 70 percent of its cases in the court of law, in the court of public opinion or through legislative reforms.”

Since its creation in 1991, The Institute for Justice has been involved in more than 250 cases, including the argument of seven in front of the United States Supreme Court.

It is time to bring the power of something like an I.J. to the local charter movement in the nation’s capital. I imagine that this entity would join charters in fighting the myriad of issues now facing these public schools such as the availability of permanent facilities, equitable funding compared to DCPS, and legislation by the Mayor and Council that contradicts the School Reform Act. It would also rein in the charter board when it overreaches its authority. When union activity begins to percolate at our proud institutions such as Paul PCS, Cesar Chavez PCS, and Mundo Verde PCS, these schools would not be on their own. Let’s call it the DC Public Charter School Defense Initiative, which would jump into action, at no cost to those targeted by organized labor, to protect their autonomy.

In his tremendous book Voucher Wars author Clint Bolick describes his founding of I.J. with Chip Mellor, “It would be an explicitly libertarian law firm, with funding attracted by our commitment to a principled, long-term litigation strategy, rather than litigation following funding. . . And from the very first day, we vowed to defend every school choice program until the constitutional cloud was removed. We adopted a motto from the late-night television commercial: If you have a choice program, you have a lawyer!”

The same guiding principal would drive the work of DCPCSDI. If you have a charter school, then you have an attorney covering your back regarding the policy issues of the day. No longer would individual schools be an island trying to rid the educational landscape of wrongs. The battle would be joined by others experienced in using the courts to their advantage.

Who out there would be willing to take up this challenge?

Betsy DeVos: school choice is “a freedom philosophy”

There has been much coverage in the press and social media of the appearance of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in front of the Education Writers Association national conference taking place this week in Baltimore. Many reporters are talking about her remark that she doesn’t particularly like public speaking. She stated:

“I don’t enjoy the publicity that comes with my position. I don’t love being up onstage nor any kind of platform. I am an introvert.”

On the subject of her support of school choice, she articulated her argument as succinctly as I’ve heard anyone make it, as explained by Laura Meckler of the Washington Post:

“She recalled putting her children into a private, religious school in Michigan, and her sadness that so many other children in the area couldn’t attend that school. ‘I realized more and more the unfairness of the situation,’ she said.

Her conclusion was that students stuck with what she called traditional, failing public schools lack freedom.

‘I entered public life to promote policies that empower all families. Notice that I said families — families, not government,’ she said. ‘I trust the American people to live their own lives and to decide their own destinies. It’s a freedom philosophy.'”

This is the same line of reasoning I’ve heard from so many brave and smart individuals. People who have voiced similar opinions include Dr. Howard Fuller, Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Jeanne Allen, Michael Musante, Darcy Olsen, Katherine Bradley, David Boaz, Clint Bolick, Josh Rales, Eva Moskowitz, Donald Hense, Joseph Overton, and Anthony Williams, to name a few. The unfairness of the situation is what drives me to get up between four and five a.m. during the week to write about school choice.

Many people thought it was bold of Ms. DeVos to even show up at this meeting. After all, much of the press share a liberal political philosophy, and they have been attacking her as a person and her work professionally since before she even came into office.

But that’s simply what you do when you see an injustice and you desperately want to see it fixed.