The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is fed up with President Barack Obama and his administration. The 43-member caucus, led by Representative Maxine Waters (D-Ca), says that Barack Obama is not listening to the needs of African Americans on the important issues of the day. The nation’s first African American president, a candidate who carried 95 percent of the African American vote (versus 4% for his opponent) in the 2008 presidential election, is alienating the African American lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and the lawmakers are threatening to do the unthinkable, vote with the Republicans (GOP).
Rep. Waters suggested the CBC’s 43 members could vote with the GOP to scuttle a variety of Democratic bills if Obama and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel don’t address what she thinks is a lack of understanding of the CBC’s wide-ranging goals.
If the CBC is serious in their threat to side with Republicans, they should start with the one program that has proven to help African American students in the nation’s capitol: the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.
The Democrats in Congress, including all 43 members of the CBC, voted last February to phase out a program that gives low-income D.C. families a $7,500 voucher to remove their children from often dangerous and failing D.C. Public Schools and allow them to choose a safe and effective education for their children. Most of the current recipients are African American.
This program has been a terrific success and has given parents across the nation’s capital real hope that their children will have a positive future, as one DCOSP parent Carmen Holassie proclaims in The Heritage Foundation’s new documentary Let Me Rise: The Struggle to Save School Choice in the Nation’s Capital:
“I can see my daughter five or ten years from now not living on the poverty level that I’ve been through.”
She goes on to talk about her son, Ronald:
“Without that Washington Scholarship, my son Ronald wouldn’t be the way he is today. Now I can go to bed and sleep and say ‘Thank you, Jesus’ my son has a future, a positive one.”
This is a win-win for the CBC. They would be investing in the future of African American children, and providing parents, like Carmen Holassie a real hope that their children have an opportunity to succeed in America. The CBC would also be joining a growing movement of African American Democrat lawmakers at the state level who are proposing school choice legislation in their states.
The CBC knows that allowing parents to choose a save and effective school for their children is important, which is why 38% of CBC members have at one time sent their own kids to a private school, compared to only 8% of the African American population across America who do so. Joining with school choice supporters across the aisle to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program wouldn’t just send a message to President Obama and his Administration, but also to the entire country that when it comes to education reform in America, the CBC is standing with the kids, and not special interests.