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Leader Of Black Alliance Blasts President Obama

 WASHINGTON  -- Calling President Obama to task for remarks he made on national television, education reform leaders will demand this weekend that the President reverse his opposition to publicly funded school vouchers and allow low-income children access to the same quality education he and his children have enjoyed. 

In an open letter to President Obama, published as a full-page advertisement in this weekend's New York TimesKevin P. Chavous, Board Chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), points to the disparity between the President's recent words and the Administration's actions regarding school choice. Speaking on NBC's Today Show September 27, President Obama said disadvantaged families without "a bunch of connections…should be getting the same quality education for their kids as anybody else." Yet earlier this year, the Administration acted to eliminate the highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to poor children so they can opt out of failing schools to attend quality alternatives. Writing on behalf of Black families and educators nationwide, Chavous suggests the contradiction is the height of hypocrisy.

"As a beneficiary of a privately funded scholarship, you attended the most elite private school in Hawaii," Chavous writes. "You and Mrs. Obama have also chosen a private school for your own children. Because there are not enough private scholarships to serve all low-income families, you more than anyone should be an advocate for government-funded opportunity scholarships nationwide."

Chavous and the Black Alliance for Educational Options are calling for President Obama to announce his support for a full reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, as well as to embrace private school choice for low-income families nationwide.

"BAEO applauds and supports key tenets of the President's education reform platform, especially his emphasis on turning around failing schools and increasing the number of high-quality charter schools. However, his stance on parental choice is wrong.  We cannot continue to ask parents to wait and hold out hope that reforms will eventually succeed for their children," writes Chavous.  "The ability to choose a high-quality school is critically important and should be extended to all parents, regardless of income. As Dr. Martin Luther King said during the civil rights movement, we need to act with the fierce urgency of now. Our young people cannot wait. Opportunity scholarships help educate children today."

Chavous said that BAEO was motivated to purchase the national advertisement—and launch its new "Revolution in Education" campaign—when President Obama himself pointed to the uneven playing field in the District's schools. "He's talking the talk," said Chavous, "and believing he's philosophically on our side, we're strongly urging him to walk the walk."

Nationwide, approximately 200,000 children participate in 20 private school choice programs in 12 states and the District of Columbia. According to Chavous, there is room in inner-city private schools nationwide for one million additional children


STORY TAGS: BLACK , AFRICAN AMERICAN , MINORITY , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , NAACP , URBAN LEAGUE , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY



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