Dramatic Standoff at U.S. DOE

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A follow-up on my previous post. Former Democratic D.C. Councilman Kevin P. Chavous, longtime D.C. education activist Virginia Walden Ford, the Rev. Anthony Motley, Black Alliance for Educational (BAEO) Board Chair Dr. Howard Fuller, BAEO President Gerard Robinson, and education reform leader Darrell Allison defiantly blocked the entrance to the US DOE’s building. From Kevin’s email:

The protesters refused to leave the premises for nearly an hour, leading to a standoff with police. Apparently on orders from federal officials, no arrests were made.

The protesters—who sought to block the entrance of the Department because “the President and the Secretary have blocked low-income parents from accessing the schools of their parents’ choice”—were cheered on by 50 families and supporters, including Councilman Marion Barry.

“Two weeks ago, it became painfully clear that the Obama administration was not going to allow 216 previously accepted children to enroll in schools of their choice through the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP),” Chavous said. “As much as I support our President and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, this action reeks with hypocrisy. As a result, we decided to engage in an act of civil disobedience. For years, many of us in the education reform movement have been saying that the right to a quality education is the social justice and civil rights issue of our time. I believe that we need to match that rhetoric with direct action.”

Chavous added: “I may not be in handcuffs now because of the ‘powers that be’, but this Administration needs to act immediately and remove the handcuffs on D.C. kids who are stuck in failing, underperforming schools.”

“I am proud to stand in solidarity with low-income D.C. parents and their children who are being disenfranchised by this Administration’s failure to fully support the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program,” said Dr. Fuller. “If the President and Secretary Duncan want to keep their promise of ‘funding what works, regardless of ideology,’ it’s time to walk the talk and stand up for a program that gives low income students in DC a way to seek a viable educational future.”