- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 19, 2012


Shame, shame, shame.

Shame on President Obama for turning underprivileged children into pawns — again — and during an election year, no less, as he stands on the cusp of history — again.

In what could be his final State of the Union address on Jan. 24, Mr. Obama seemingly spoke frankly about his concern about the need to raise the dropout age to 18 and urged states to do so, sans federal intervention.

A salute was in order at the time.

But guess what?

Quicker than you could say states’ prerogative, Mr. Obama yanked the rug beneath kids and parents in D.C. by proposing in his new $3.8 trillion budget that absolutely no new money be allocated for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the voucher program for poor families that was restored in 2010 and, we thought, with his blessings.

Now I don’t know about you, but my conservative parents told me never to trust anyone who giveth with one hand and taketh with the other.

What the president did this Black History Month brings to mind two other historical Democratic givers-and-takers, then-Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus and then-Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, poster boys for the separate-but-equal doctrine.

They passionately argued that blacks should indeed have public schools, but not at the expense of white kids and certainly not to attend classes in the same schoolhouse.

Fighting those views was a long and arduous slog for the racially, religiously and politically diverse NAACP, whose arch of triumph against school segregation came in the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which ordered Faubus, Wallace and other like-minded Southern strategists to sit down, shut down and desegregate schools.

Those views were also the views of the Democratic Party, whose members were sometimes Blue Dogs, sometimes Yellow Dogs, all barking at race-mixing.

Now along comes Mr. Obama, a Democrat once removed from those days, blocking schoolhouse doors and telling kids and their mommas and their daddies and their grandparents that their poor children do not deserve to attend whichever school they want to attend.

This is deeply troubling because, when it comes to school choice, Democrats such as Mr. Obama talk an awful lot about school reform and putting children first, but they play a partisan hand.

Birmingham, Ala., the old stomping grounds of Wallace, is another perfect illustration.

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