- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

What do parents, school employees and other stakeholders in the District think about schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson?

We may never know because the D.C. Council has hit the mute button on the confirmation process by designating the mayor and themselves as the judge and jury on public schooling.

Three months ago, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, a Democrat, appointed Ms. Henderson to succeed Michelle A. Rhee as chancellor and conceded that he never considered anyone else.

In early spring, council Chairman Kwame R. Brown held three community roundtables to get a sense of where stakeholders stood on the Henderson appointment.

“This is an important appointment that will have a critical impact on the future of our children and our city for years to come,” Mr. Brown, a Democrat, said at the time. “Therefore, it is imperative that we hear from as many parents, students and residents as possible. The best way to accomplish that goal is to take the forum to the people.”

Now, the council wants to confirm Ms. Henderson sans public input during the councils June 22 airing of PR19-0124, or the chancellor confirmation resolution.

“There will be no public testimony submissions taken as public testimony was already received through three community roundtables in Wards 4, 6, and 8,” according to an official council announcement.

So, first we have Mr. “I Can Do Better Than Fenty” Gray failing to even look for a chancellor; then we have Mr. Brown wielding a rubber stamp.

I know name-calling can be construed as juvenile — but what hypocrites.

Shutting out the voices of the governed is un-American.

Its incredible that the District’s leaders are wailing about the lack of statehood and self-governance out of one side of their mouths and feigning public input about “an important appointment that will have a critical impact on our children and our city.”

The united state of mockingbirds: Having finally realized that they made a big mistake by putting all their eggs in the congressional voting-rights basket, statehood activists are set to hold a rally Thursday on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Newly interested activists will get to hear longtime statehood advocates preach to the choir and participate in a candlelight vigil.

The daylong event could prove to be the largest statehood gathering since Mr. Gray, Mr. Brown and others were arrested this spring after protesting the citys less-than-ideal home rule predicament that has left Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and the city’s non-voting congressional member, reeling since Republicans and conservatives took control of the House in January.

The rally follows a Wednesday news conference held by Mrs. Norton, Mr. Gray and others who call congressional oversight congressional interference.

Their criticism stems from proposals that would prohibit public funding of abortions, support school vouchers and bolster Second Amendment rights.

The Statehood for D.C. Teach-In at the Capitol, organized by the American Civil Liberties Union, will reflect activists typical line of defense: When things arent going your way, hold an incestuous rally and spew partisan spitballs.

“Republicans have not been coy about their anti-home-rule intentions and they have not been shy about using every opportunity this year to try to erase the city’s right to govern itself and to spend its local funds as residents’ desire. But D.C. was not shy in responding, either,” Mrs. Norton said. “The rallies and arrests of the mayor, council members, ANC commissioners, and residents leave no doubt that the city will not sit idly and be robbed of home rule.”

Mrs. Norton, a constitutional law specialist, knows it will take far more than arrests, rallies and tongue lashings of conservatives and Republicans for the District to become a state.

Unless and until Americans in the 50 states persuade their members of Congress to change the Constitution so that it mandates otherwise, Americas star-spangled banner will remain unchanged.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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