Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington, D.C.'s Congressional representative, took to the pages of the Washington Post to explain why she is not--Post editorials and facts aside--intransigent on the issue of vouchers for the capital city's poor kids. "I believe we can get beyond the controversy and recrimination concerning the controversial D.C. School Choice Incentive Act," she wrote. Holmes Norton's way to get beyond those icky things, of course, is to do what she desires--namely, allow the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to (currently) about 1,900 low-income kids to attend private schools, to expire. But she's certainly not against parochial schools! So she says. Holmes Norton tells readers, in her meandering op-ed, that "this city owes more than it can repay to the Catholic schools that have remained in this largely Protestant town rather than following their parishioners to the suburbs." Why, then, wouldn't she want more of D.C.'s worst-off youngsters to attend those excellent schools with the help of government dollars? Why not give D.C.'s Catholic schools, several of which have had to reconstitute as charters to avoid closing altogether, the attendance boost they could sorely use? Luckily, it looks like D.C.'s vouchers will survive at least in the short-term--no thanks to she who is supposed to represent its beneficiaries.
"Real Choices for D.C. Students," by Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington Post, June 17, 2008