01.17.2014 0

Obama has surrendered moral authority on income inequality

A version of the article was originally published on FoxNews.com

Photo: WhiteHouse.gov

Photo: WhiteHouse.gov

By Rick Manning

Kevin Chavous is a former District of Columbia Councilmember, mayoral candidate, and member of the Obama education advisory committee.  Now, he is an advocate for school vouchers. 

The African-American Democrat points to what some would consider a shocking truth when it comes to which politicians support increasing opportunities for inner city underprivileged children when he talks about the constant fight over funding school vouchers in the Districtsaying, “We have a 97 percent graduation rate for children in the Opportunity Scholarship Program in the District of Columbia, 92 percent college enrollment, and two valedictorians, and our biggest problem is fighting Obama.”

Chavous also extolls the House Republican Speaker John Boehner calling him, “… our biggest champion in Congress.”

The question is why would Obama seek to limit successful programs that allow inner city youth to enter a pathway to educational success when African-American voters are the one group that has overwhelmingly supported him?

Why would Obama seek to limit successful programs that allow inner city youth to enter a pathway to educational success?

And maybe an equally interesting question is why Speaker Boehner, who represents a largely white, rural Ohio district would care about breaking the failed education/poverty cycle in the District?

Boehner’s answer can be found back in 2003, when he served as the Chairman of the House Workforce and Education Committee. In introducing legislation to allow a voucher system in the District, the current Speaker issued a stirring call for change,

I am here today because I believe that all children, regardless of their economic background, deserve a safe and productive learning environment. I believe that we ought to trust parents to make the best decisions about their children’s education. I believe that the current system in the District of Columbia is robbing both parents and children of the right to a quality education. And I believe that competition in the education system creates a culture of achievement that will improve the quality of every student’s academic experience.

I refuse to accept the notion that some children are unable to learn, a notion that the President (George W. Bush) has called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Hard words to argue with, particularly as school choice and charter schools have been overwhelmingly proven to be successful in increasing kid’s future opportunities.

Obama and the left’s opposition is more troubling as it essentially is just an accession to teachers union fears that  public schools will lose the competition for students if their monopoly is broken.

After all, what parent would voluntarily send their child to a crummy school, if they could choose a better alternative that increased their opportunities in the future?

In places like Hartford, Connecticut, there is a waiting list of hundreds of kids to attend the Capitol Prep Charter School due to its 97 percent graduation rate, with about two-thirds of graduates going to college.

Incredibly, rather than expand this successful program dramatically, the Hartford School District may choose to deny more students access to this success story as out of town left-wing activists have engaged in wholesale attacks on the school’s principal – Steve Perry.

You see, Perry, a public school employee, has become an outspoken national advocate for alternative education, and he scares the teacher union establishment which controls the school system. In true Saul Alinsky fashion, they are determined to crush him using any means necessary, the children be damned.

50 years ago, LBJ embarked on a liberal spending spree which called the “war on poverty”.  It has failed. Evidence of the failed welfare state is everywhere, with the fact that almost one in six Americans is on food stamps, serving as just one proof.

If our nation truly wanted to wage a compassionate war on poverty, it would fix the education system through vouchers, choice and charter schools. Reforms that have proven successful in elevating children out of the cycle of poverty and the government dependency it creates.

The cynical truth is that the left does not want children raised out of poverty, thriving because they have the education to move beyond the crumbling walls of economic despair.

Dependent voters are reliable voters, and self-sufficient voters are a threat.  How else can you explain why the first black president has consistently fought against providing funds to give the rest of the kids in D.C. the same opportunity to get a quality private school education that his own two children enjoy?

Obama has chosen to consign those at the bottom of the economic ladder to generational failure by opposing proven alternative education options.

By opposing giving people the ability to achieve the American dream by denying them the choice to get out of a failed education system, Obama has surrendered any and all moral authority to talk about income inequality. After all, his presidency relies upon the government dependency that poverty creates.

Richard Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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