[…] For Democrats especially, their choice of a private school for their own families tends to make them opponents of choice for others. The bargain the teachers unions offer is this: We won't fuss about private or parochial schools for your children, provided you don't help any other kid get the same chance.
For the most part they fall in line. And so we have today's Washington, a city where none of the major players making decisions about the D.C. public schools have any skin in the game:
- President Barack Obama. Though the president talks a good game about putting kids first, and could save the Opportunity Scholarships Program with a few words, he remains silent -- even as his daughters attend the exclusive Sidwell Friends School.
- Education Secretary Arne Duncan. When Mr. Duncan chose a safe suburban school in Virginia for his kids, he explained it this way: "I didn't want to try to save the country's children and our educational system and jeopardize my own children's education."
Fair enough. Mr. Duncan also stated that the children who now have scholarships should be grandfathered. This reporter called his office to ask what, specifically, his department is doing to make that happen. A spokesman said they are working on a budget request -- though the administration has not yet decided whether the funding would be just for their existing schools or stay with them through high school.
- Mayor Adrian Fenty. The mayor nominally favors the Opportunity Scholarships, but he's been an uncertain trumpet -- and his lack of leadership was a green light to a Democratic Congress itching to end the program. Though the mayor has promised that his two sons will go to D.C. public schools come fall, right now they too are in a private school.
- Sen. Durbin. In his floor statement defending his killer amendment, Mr. Durbin admitted he chose Catholic schools for his own children. "If I entrusted my own children to [private education], I certainly believe in it." But he went on to say this choice should be there only for Americans who pay for it.
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