Imagine if 20 years ago on the south side of Chicago two thousand low-income, predominantly African-American families were given an opportunity to take their children out of failing and violent schools and send them to a school where they had a chance to graduate and attend college.
What if this program had numerous studies that showed the students within the program were making statistically significant gains in reading? What if the program was so wildly popular that for every one scholarship that was awarded, there were four applicants?
And then, what if powerful politicians, well-funded by special interests, decided to eliminate the program that gave so many low-income minority students hope for a brighter future? Would Community Organizer Barack Obama stand with the powerful politicians who ended the program or the students and families whose lives were put in the political crosshairs of day-to-day partisanship?
It’s safe to assume that Community Organizer Obama would be on the front lines, fighting with the parents and standing with the kids.
Today, Community Organizer Obama is President Obama, and now he and his colleagues Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) are the powerful politicians, well-funded by special interests, that are playing a political game with the lives of 1,700 low-income families in Washington, D.C.
“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 (D.C.) 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.
“Saving” this program means reauthorization, allowing new children to participate, and increasing the scholarship amounts to account for inflation. The president has said that he will support whatever works in education, regardless of ideology. We challenge him to live up to those words. We challenge him to meet some of the parents and applicants who want to be part of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. 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.”
For more information about the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, visit voicesofschoolchoice.org