Norton hears a boo
"We have to protect the children, who are the truly innocent victims here." Absent context, one might guess that Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's non-voting congressional delegate, was decrying, say, the inadequacy of the nation's response to child abuse. Not so. The scourge against which Norton so hyperbolically railed is, in fact, a scholarship program that has allowed nearly 2,000 D.C. students to escape their failing district schools for a safer and sounder private education. Is anybody listening? Sadly, we hear that leaders of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program are increasingly doubtful about the prospects of Congress reauthorizing the vouchers, which narrowly passed five years ago behind a Republican majority. Sustaining this valuable program is going to require, inter alia, a major political initiative by Mayor Fenty. Else Delegate Norton will be proven right; the children will indeed be victims. And she will be among their victimizers.
"Fate of D.C. Voucher Program Darkens," by Valerie Strauss and Bill Turque, Washington Post, June 9, 2008