- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 12, 2014


There are so many reasons soon-to-be-former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in Virginia’s Republican primary on Tuesday that it’s impossible to list them all in this space. So, in the interests of time and space, suffice it to say voters decided to kick him to the curb.

A professor from Randolph-Macon College will likely replace Mr. Cantor, as both the Republican and Democratic contenders for his 7th District seat teach there.

But while most of the media focus on who will take Mr. Cantor’s seat, I’m concerned about who will push, prod and cajole to ensure school choice doesn’t flounder.

Choice is but one aspect of education reform.

Consider the scandal at the Veteran’s Administration.

Once federal lawmakers received the hard, cold facts about our ailing servicemen and women being shuffled around on waiting lists and/or tangled in red tape, what did they do?

The right thing.

Within weeks of media exposes and daily news stories revealing the mismanagement and bureaucratic laissez-faire at VA facilities across the country, Capitol Hill, moving with all deliberate speed, drew up legislation, debated it and passed bills that are now expected to be reconciled and on President Obama’s desk by month’s end.

It’s a budget buster, for sure — calling for spending at least $35 billion in new funding for additional facilities, doctors and nurses, among other things.

The key point here is that they broadened health care options for vets, who no longer will be tied to one-size-fits-all VA facilities — and well they should have since more than 57,000 veterans have been waiting 90 days or better just to get an initial appointment at VA centers.

That vets had to wait is unconscionable.

And so is the fact that too many schoolchildren — our schoolchildren — are still stuck in failing schools while Washington devises (and revises) wait-and-see plans.

Let our children go.

Washington moved with warp speed to give vets more options, even amid criticism that they were trying to privatize veterans’ care.

Various tea party groups have various platforms or various issues. Some I agree with, some I do not.

I do, though, stand with the Tea Party Patriots on this item: Education funding should follow children, not bureaucrats.

Mr. Cantor carried water for the three-pronged approach of traditional public schooling, public charter schooling and vouchers for nonpublic schools.

He will be replaced in Congress. But what about the children and their options?

Will school-choice support wane?

It’s time to push the issue — at warp speed.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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