- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2019

There’s a bipartisan effort in Congress to prohibit politicians, bureaucrats and unions from using ZIP codes (which can help map school and teacher funding) to determine where children attend public school.

The Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Permanent Amendment Act would bolster and fund school choice for D.C. students and their families, whether they choose traditional and magnet schools, or charter and private schools.
Sens. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican; Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat; and Mike Braun, Wisconsin Republican, introduced the measure Thursday.

“Having grown up in neighborhoods that would have benefited from school choice, I know firsthand the amazing opportunities that can be opened for children when they’re afforded that opportunity,” Mr. Scott said. “I have visited multiple schools in Washington that utilize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and know for a fact that parents and students see it as an absolute blessing. I look forward to permanently authorizing the SOAR Act and continuing to open doors for some of our most overlooked communities.”

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Now, I can imagine some of you shaking your heads and saying, “Here the federal government goes again, dipping into local and state education matters that are better in the hands of parents and other taxpayers on a local level.”

But know this: The unions already are busting bouncing from city to city and state capitol to state capitol gearing up for their anti-school choice battle royale for 2020.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, earned her big public smooch in Chicago, where striking teachers are refusing to enter schoolhouses and classrooms because they want more money and benefits. They even rejected a 16% raise.

Unfortunately, Chicago Public Schools students will feel the brunt of the costly demands if they leave school without a diploma — or with a diploma but so academically deprived they can only look forward to jobs whose “Help wanted” signs say nerds and geeks need not apply.

On Tuesday, Ms. Warren, a former special ed teacher, stood among the throng of Chicago’s striking teachers and alongside American Federal of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and said this: “I’m here to stand for America’s public schools. I’m here to stand with Chicago’s teachers. I’m here to stand with Chicago nurses. I’m here to stand with Chicago’s librarians. I’m here to stand with Chicago’s bus drivers. I’m here to stand with the low wage workers in the Chicago schools.

“I also am here to stand with our unions. To stand with SEIU, to stand with CTU, and here’s why — because the unions are how we have a voice. The unions are how we have power.”

The truth is that Ms. Warren would have gained a measure of respect had she said “I’m here to stand with children,” because it’s children who deserve her time and attention and it’s children who will, at some point, have to pay the salaries and benefits of future teachers, presidents and members of Congress.

As I mentioned in an earlier column, the Democratic presidential contenders — and the media who question them in the debates — aren’t probing education, education reform or the plethora of options provided by academic achievement.

Also on Tuesday, Ms. Warren released her so-called education plan.

Unfortunately, it reads like a mash-up of union rhetoric, socialist diatribe and post-separate-but-unequal promises.

Now that Ms. Warren has set the bar, it’ll be interesting to see what Joe Biden, Corey Booker and Tulsi Gabbard have as comebacks — and see whether they stand with parental school choice or opt to be slobbered upon with union kisses.

Keep in mind, though, the Warren bar is mighty low. However, it has a ZIP code — and it is 20001.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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