On Jan. 29, “National School Choice Week” kicked off with a celebration and conference at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township (“Rally in Morris calls for ‘school choice”).
While the issue being promoted is parental choice in education, it is rooted in liberty. When government financially coerces you to send your child to a government school, government has taken your liberty. Indeed, there is nothing in either the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution to justify this travesty of justice.
Leaders of both major parties have referred to this as “the civil rights issue of our time.” Former NJ Commissioner of Education Bret Schundler referred to this as “the human rights issue of our time.” But despite the judiciousness and proven success of school choice, the opposition represents the strongest political brick wall in America. This requires a powerful political battering ram, aimed at the weakest spot.
Our nation’s capital and its inner cities are classic examples of the devastation caused by this lawless grab of power and resources. The approximately 45,000 students in Washington, DC, public schools are costing taxpayers $29,409 annually per child, with pitiful results. The graduation rate hovers at 64 percent, and too many drop outs get into crime. This is the ideal place to begin. As the capital of the USA, DC comes directly under the jurisdiction of Congress. This enables us to build a gigantic battering ram, with the participation of all 435 legislative districts.
Every concerned man, woman, and child may get behind this battering ram by calling their representatives in Congress at 202-224-3121 and respectfullyurging them to sponsor the DC Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity. This will provide every DC student with a school voucher valued at half current costs, and the savings allocated to reduce the national debt.
Rescuing our nation’s poor and downtrodden children from substandard schools is the very least they can do to deserve reelection to Congress. Restoring liberty in our nation’s capital will blaze a trail for all America, and bring boundless blessings in its wake.
Rabbi Israel Teitelbaum
The writer leads the Alliance for Free Choice in Education.