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Cal Thomas: Opening doors to success


WORLD Radio - Cal Thomas: Opening doors to success

Despite Democratic opposition, thousands of Illinois students find hope through school choice programs

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MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, September 14th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

PAUL BUTLER: And I’m Paul Butler. Up next: school choice. Commentator Cal Thomas on the growing trend of allowing more state funds to be used to pay for students’ private education. But not everyone is happy with the development.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: There was a time in bygone America when calling someone a “hypocrite” was equivalent to the scarlet letter or the mark of Cain.

Today in an era of opinion polls and following the prevailing political winds, hypocrisy means little to nothing. The latest instance that caught my attention comes courtesy of the president of the Chicago Teachers Union. Stacy Davis Gates has opposed the highly popular Illinois Scholarship program for low-income students, calling it “racist” and its supporters “fascists”. That the program benefits primarily people of color in urban areas doesn’t seem to matter to Davis Gates, who is Black.

What earns Davis Gates the hypocrite label is that while denouncing school choice for others, she has exercised it for herself. Davis Gates has pulled her son from a neighborhood public school and enrolled him in a private Catholic school that costs $16 thousand a year. She is leaving her two other children in public school. I wonder how they feel about such unequal treatment by their mother?

What about poor kids and their parents who are unable to do what she has done?

Too bad for them. This inequality is a consequence of a monopolistic school system that has long outlived its usefulness.

Illinois’s “Invest in Kids Program” paid for nine thousand scholarships last school year. There were 31 thousand applicants.That so many largely Democratic politicians oppose school choice and in some cases have allowed their programs to expire, dooming low income children to a bad education, is worse than hypocrisy. It is a disgrace.

Davis Gates defends her choice in a way that any parent can understand. She says she enrolled her son in the private school so he could “live out his dream of being a soccer player while also having a curriculum that can meet his social and emotional needs.” Right there, Davis Gates has made the case for school choice for everyone.

The Illinois program will soon end unless it is renewed by the state legislature and approved by Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker. Since Democratic politicians are beneficiaries of donations from the teacher’s union, it will be interesting to see what Illinois decides to do.

If they allow the program to die, the hopes of thousands of Illinois families for a better life will be dashed. There will then be only one option for resurrecting the program and that is to vote for political leaders who support school choice.

School choice is spreading rapidly. A publication titled Education Week reports: “So far this year, lawmakers in 14 states have passed bills establishing school choice programs or expanding existing ones, and lawmakers in 42 states have introduced such bills.”

If parents continue to vote for Democrats who deny their kids the chance for a better life, they will be contributing to their child’s lack of opportunity. Democrats have styled themselves as advocates for the poor. Failing to renew the Illinois program would deservedly earn them the hypocrisy label with a dishonor cluster.

I’m Cal Thomas.

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