A keen-eyed reader sounds the day’s irony alert: while the administration and the Democratic congressional leaders are undermining scholarship opportunities for poor, minority D.C. schoolkids, the administration is out touting its commitment to “civil rights” in education. No, really:
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will call today for stepped up enforcement of civil rights laws in America’s schools and colleges, as the Obama administration pushes to overhaul the nation’s education system and improve opportunities for minorities. … The Education Department will send out a series of letters to all U.S. schools and colleges, giving guidance on 17 topics related to equal access to education for minorities, women and students with disabilities, said Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights. The department also plans to review one school district’s treatment of students who speak English as a second language, she said. She declined to name the school.
For this crew, “civil rights” apparently doesn’t include promoting opportunities to go to a decent school. For the Obami, the civil rights bogey men are still white bigots and sometimes hapless bureaucrats. The solution is lawyers — lots of them, filing all sorts of lawsuits for any perceived racial slight and ready to pounce on school officials who have not complied with the myriad of “equal access” rules. And perish the thought that we should insist on children learning English!
But aren’t teachers unions the ones blocking the school doors that D.C. kids want to enter (e.g., the Sidwell Friends School, where Obama’s kids go and which is accessible only by scholarship for these children)? Really, the Obami’s is a cramped view of civil rights, indeed — one that neatly spares the Democrats the difficulty of telling their most generous campaign donors to back off. It is intensely self-serving and ultimately harmful to the minority kids the administration claims to care so much about.