- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2015


The president of the United States is fond of saying it.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers is fond of saying it.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said it.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has said it.

They talk about a “level playing field.”

And they talk about improving education for “all” students.

Not all of them talk at the same time, and not all them of use the words “level playing field” and “all” every time they speak.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to fool most of the American people most of the time.

Take what was and wasn’t said on Monday, the day President Obama submitted his fiscal 2016 budget proposal to Congress.

Mr. Obama reminded poor parents, black parents and D.C. parents who pray and dream of a better education for their children that they are undeserving. He did that by defunding the city’s voucher program, a program designed and appropriated by Congress to allow low-income parents to receive small stipends to send their children to a private school of their choosing.

Kara Kerwin, president of the Center for School Reform, called “inexcusable” the president’s decision to omit funding for new students in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Ditto her characterization — especially since there’s always a waiting list for the scholarships and since 90 percent of voucher recipients matriculate to two- and four-year colleges and universities.

And here’s what Randi Weingarten, a leading anti-choice voice, had to say about Mr. Obama’s denial to low-income families: “Public education should expand opportunity for students,” she said. “We must give all students the opportunities and resources they need — from computers to counselors even if their communities can’t afford them.”

Note that she used the words “should expand opportunity for students” and that she said “all” students should be given opportunities.

She’s faking sincerity.

Indeed, Miss Weingarten has even pulled Mr. Duncan’s strings. In 2010, she persuaded the education chief to back away from holding a press conference at a New York public school whose principal held teachers accountable. (The proof is in this New York Post article.)

Miss Weingarten made her post-budget comments in a letter to Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. In the letter, Miss Weingarten’s sincerity shone through, saying that “portability” of Title I funds is a “first step” toward voucher programs like the D.C. one.

So, the next time you hear Miss Weingarten and others use “all” or “level playing field” know that means neither black families nor poor people.

It’s that simple.

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

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

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