- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2006

On the very issue that supposedly forms the foundation of Adrian Fenty’s campaign for mayor — “Making Education Our #1 Priority” — his own actions disqualify him from any consideration for that office.

“As mayor,” Mr. Fenty has said, “my first priority will be building excellent public education.” But he has refused to enroll his 6-year-old twins in D.C. Public Schools. Mr. Fenty has also bragged about how he “led the fight in the Council to oppose federally imposed vouchers in the District’s public school system.” Mr. Fenty, who earns $92,250 as a councilman and would earn $149,200 as mayor, also “led the fight” (his words) to make certain that virtually none of the city’s impoverished families would have the option of sending their children to better-performing private schools. Those facts should scream out to voters.

Instead of enrolling his two boys in the first grade at West Elementary School last week, Mr. Fenty kept them at the private Tots Developmental School, where, according to the mayoral candidate, tuition costs about $6,000 a year. West Elementary, by the way, is among the District’s best-performing public schools: Last year, 89.4 percent and 91.5 percent of West students met D.C. proficiency standards in reading and math, respectively. But West Elementary is not good enough for the Fenty family.

Two years ago Mr. Fenty joined D.C. Council Chairman Linda Cropp to defeat a bill that would have given the mayor more power over D.C. Public Schools. Coming from a candidate who now wants to increase the mayor’s role in public education, Mr. Fenty’s refusal to send his own children to a public school represents a vote of no confidence in D.C. public education. Mr. Fenty’s actionsalso represent a huge no-confidence vote in his very own education-reform plans.

After saying in February that his children would be attending a public school “next year,” Mr. Fenty now claims that was a “miscommunication.” Today Mr. Fenty insists that his children will eventually attend D.C. Public Schools. He just won’t say when. There’s no “miscommunication”; Mr. Fenty’s message is coming through loud and clear.

Mr. Fenty promises “a new era where all of us come together in new and innovative ways to turn problems into opportunities.” When those problems involve public education — “our #1 priority,” according to Mr. Fenty — his idea of “com[ing] together in new and innovative ways” is to send his children to a private school. Mr. Fenty does not deserve the primary leadership role in the drive to reform public education in the nation’s capital. Mr. Fenty’s hypocrisy is obvious: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

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