Williams for choice
The conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation has found a strong ally in its fight for school choice in Juan Williams, a liberal news analyst for Fox News.
Mr. Williams, who is also senior national correspondent for National Public Radio, hosted an event at the National Press Club on Friday to promote a short film produced by the think tank about the recent decision to cancel the short-lived D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program.
The scholarships, which were handed out beginning in 2004, gave money to D.C. students toward attending a school of their choice. But Congress revoked funding for the program last year, forcing many disadvantaged minority students back into failing public schools.
Mr. Williams and his fellow panelists at the event expressed disappointment in President Obama for permitting the program to expire and faulted teachers unions that typically oppose school choice, for exercising too much political influence in that process.
“I don’t understand how politics would be blind to helping people,” Mr. Williams said, adding about Mr. Obama that “we all know his personal story and of his mother exercising school choice.”
The panelists that Mr. Williams hosted were even more blunt.
“Just because the NEA [National Education Association] and AFT [American Federation of Teachers] says we should not have this program and we’re going to end it — then shame on all of us,” said former D.C. City Council member and Education Committee Chairman Kevin Chavous, who has appeared in local television advertisements drawing attention to this issue.
Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice and visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, added, “It is so frustrating, to me, as an African-American, that the president hasn’t jumped to help us.
“That’s very frustrating,” she said. “And I’m really, really angry he hasn’t fought for this program.”
The president and CEO of the Center for American Progress has publicly disagreed with two of his staffers over the possibility of televising health care negotiations.
While campaigning to become president, Barack Obama promised several times that health care deliberations would be covered by C-SPAN, but Democrats are now planning to keep these talks behind closed doors.
This has sparked a debate in liberal circles of whether Mr. Obama should make good on his campaign promise or let the talks go on secretly to improve the chances of passing a health care bill quickly.
Igor Volsky, health care researcher and blogger for the think tank, which has close ties to the Obama administration, wrote in a CAP blog post last week that letting cameras cover the process to amend wouldn’t be useful to the public and would only provide opportunities for “political theater and posturing.” He also elaborated to the Washington Times that “C-SPAN cameras won’t improve the quality of the final product.” And, Mr. Volsky’s colleague Matt Yglesias echoed similar sentiments.View Entire Story
Amanda Carpenter writes the daily “Hot Button” column for The Washington Times. She was formerly a national political reporter for Townhall.com, the leading online publication for news, opinion and talk. Prior to that, she was a reporter for Human Events. Ms. Carpenter has made numerous media appearances that include segments on the Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC and other ...
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