June 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A landmark education program that provides opportunity to hundreds of families in the nation’s capital to attend private schools is being opposed by Democrats in Congress.
Barack Obama told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in February that he was open to voucher programs, but just last week announced his intentions to squash the DC pilot program.
"Barack Obama prefers private education for his daughters but won’t give DC parents the same opportunity," said Brian Burch, President of Fidelis, a Catholic-based political, legal, research and educational organization.
"Vouchers are Change," he continued. "Rather than subjecting kids to rotting schools, vouchers have brought change to hundreds of families, who opted for private or parochial schools. If Barack Obama had fought for this program, it would be saved. But he refuses to help these low-income families. By supporting the teachers union, he sadly has become the Status Quo Candidate on education."
Back in February, it looked like Barack Obama would be willing to back the teachers union and support the voucher program.
The Illinois Senator told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "If there was any argument for vouchers, it was ‘Alright, let’s see if this experiment works,’ and if it does, then whatever my preconceptions, my attitude is you do what works for the kids," the senator said. "I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn. We’re losing several generations of kids and something has to be done."
But by June, the teachers lobby convinced Obama to work against the program.
The senator told ABC News last week: "We don’t have enough slots for every child to go into a parochial school or a private school. And what you would see is a huge drain of resources out of the public schools."
Fidelis also said Republicans in Congress, including long-time voucher supporter Sen. John McCain, deserve credit for placing parents and kids above the special interests of the teachers union.
At a 2007 presidential primary debate, McCain said: "Choice and competition is the key to success in education in America. That means charter schools, that means home schooling, it means vouchers, it means rewarding good teachers and finding bad teachers another line of work."
Burch concluded, saying, "Over the last eight years, we have seen some progress on education reform. John McCain has been a long-time advocate of education reform by providing alternatives to low-income families. Despite all the criticisms about Washington lobbyists and special interests, Barack Obama has sided with one of the most powerful special interest groups in Washington, this time at the expense of the educational future of thousands of children."