Parents across America who’d like to lift their children out of failing public schools can be grateful that the new leader of the House of Representatives gets it. Speaker John Boehner’s invited guests for tonight’s State of the Union address include students, teachers and other champions of vouchers that allow low-income D.C. children to attend the school of their parents’ choice – a results-getting program targeted for extinction by liberals beholden to government education unions.
One of Boehner’s guests in the Speaker’s Box is a particularly dear friend of Heritage and the education reform movement: Virginia Walden Ford, who is executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, board member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and a visiting fellow at Heritage.
What’s more, the Ohio lawmaker and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut have pledged to introduce a bill tomorrow to restore funding for Mrs. Walden Ford’s beloved program, called D.C. Opportunity Scholarships, despite the wishes of the Obama administration.
Three of the 1,200 students in the D.C. vouchers program – Consortium of Catholic Academies eighth-graders Matthew Coleman, Lesly Alvarez and Obiora “Obi” Mbanefo – are among those invited to the Capitol by Boehner to hear President Obama’s address. The speaker’s other guests include Kennie May Jr., another CCA eighth-grader, along with CCA vice principal Lisa Rowe and teachers John P. Kelly, Mary Joyner and Michael Thomasian.
Also honored with seats in the Speaker’s Box were these friends of the D.C. vouchers program: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; John Schilling and Andrew Campanella of the American Federation for Children; Jennifer Marshall, Heritage’s director of domestic policy studies; and Lindsey Burke, Heritage education policy analyst.
Obama’s remarks on education should be a fitting curtain-raiser for “The Truth About School Choice,” a Heritage event tomorrow at noon that marks National School Choice Week by examining what the research tells us about the results of empowering parents. (If you can’t come, check it out online, either live or later.)