Anthony Williams, the D.C. mayor from 1999 to 2007, and Kevin Chavous, former D.C. City Councilor and co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform, penned a powerful call for the President to show leadership in the Washington Post.
Despite the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program’s five-year record of success in helping children from low-income D.C. families attend the best schools they have ever known, President Obama, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. José E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) are threatening to end it…
Plain and simple, the position of Obama, Durbin and Serrano is to let the program die.
Williams and Chavous are especially sour on Serrano:
In his Nov. 28 Local Opinions commentary, Serrano said that the Opportunity Scholarships were “imposed” on the city by Republicans.
As elected leaders from the District who painstakingly negotiated the terms of the three-sector strategy, including the Opportunity Scholarships, it is amusing to hear that it was “foisted” on us. It certainly wasn’t foisted on the hundreds of parents who waited in long lines and made great sacrifices for the prospect of having their children attend good schools.
Calling on the president to speak publicly on an issue about which he has been silent, they pull no punches:
As a youth, Barack Obama benefited from educational scholarships. After college, he worked as a community organizer on behalf of low-income families in Chicago. Community organizer Obama would support those parents seeking better educational opportunities for their children. Community organizer Obama would embrace a program like the Opportunity Scholarships, which give the children of low-income parents a chance at the American dream — without having to wait five years for the local school reform plan to work.
More than anything, we challenge him to do what we know community organizer Barack Obama would have done 20 years ago: Stand on the side of these families.