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Is Vincent Gray a liar, or just not paying attention?

popquizDC’s Mayor Vincent Gray and other school choice opponents took some time out yesterday, a day that saw a renewal of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program thanks to the CR budget compromise in the House and Senate, to decry what they see is that program’s theft of federal funds from the city’s public schools.

What?!

The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program provides supplemental funding for scholarships that are made available to the District’s poorest families, offering them a lifeline out of failing neighborhood schools.

And it doesn’t stop there.

The legislation (supplemental, remember, above and beyond typical funding for DCPS) provides $40 million EXTRA dollars a year to traditional DC public schools and charter schools.

So…

POP QUIZ

This means:

A) He is a liar

B) He has never taken the time read the legislation (then or now) and his staff is lying to him

C) The teachers union contributed handsomely to his campaign war chest

D) He will say anything to appease his supporters, even if it means robbing traditional public and charter schools of tens of millions of dollars, and thousands of kids of their educational future

(Answer: Thee of these answers are correct, but it is unclear as to which three.)

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Charting a course for reform

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s terrifically honest keynote address at this year’s Excellence in Action National Summit in Washington, DC:

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Snowe-d under

plowIn an attempt to win back her crown as Miss Congeniality among anti-school-choice Democrats, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) strolled to the well of the Senate yesterday evening to stab her fellow Mainer, Sen. Susan Collins, in the back by voting against the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Ms. Collins is one of the program’s chief champions. Despite the courage demonstrated by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Bill Nelson, Mark Warner, and Joe Lieberman – who voted FOR the voucher program – Sen. Snowe’s status as the lone Republican vote against the program was anything but courageous. Whether she likes Sen. Collins or not – or whether she wants to curry favor with Democrats or not (she does), Sen. Snowe’s vote today left DC kids… snowed under.

(In another bit of Maine news, yesterday, the state legislature again denied families another form school choice when their Education Committee endorsed an “innovative schools” bill which had all references to charter school removed before moving on to the main body.)

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Letter to Arne Duncan, Next Secretary of Education

duncanYou’ve been called a “great guy” by democrats who think you will help them grow school reform.  You’ve “made a lot of progress,” say university types.  You’re the “compromise candidate,” because the unions have endorsed you.

Now comes the hard part.

Frankly, you’re one of the few national education leaders I do not know, which gives me some rare objectivity in the matter. That, and the fact that my organization has no horse in the race, no member group to protect, no current ties to you at all.

So, let me offer some fresh advice about what you can expect – and what might take you by surprise.

1) Everyone will want to claim you as his own.  Allowing them to do so will compromise your efforts.

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