Superintendent’s shocking comment reminds us that school choice is an uphill battle

April 9, 2013

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Trevor TenBrink Trevor TenBrink

Trevor was website administrator for EAG from December 2012 to March 2014.
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By Kyle Olson
EAGnews.org
    
RACINE, Wis. – Is this really what the education establishment thinks of parents, particularly black parents?
    
Ann LaingAs Wisconsin legislators debate expanding the state’s parental choice private school voucher program, Racine Unified Superintendent Dr. Ann Laing’s shocking comments from the last budget cycle remind us school choice is an uphill battle.
    
The fight is not just against unions, but the entire know-it-all education blob.
    
Laing was filmed in December 2011 by the Milwaukee County Black Alliance for Education Options. During her appearance, she was critical of the voucher program that had been expanded to her school district and would begin later that year.
    
But her criticism of the program went to a whole new level when she stereotyped black parents.

 

 “I think Milwaukee is a good example of what will happen on a smaller scale here. In Milwaukee, it’s pretty much been white families who’ve taken advantage of private schools, with a few African-American families. The African-American families are the ones who are most prone to enroll their kids in the fly-by-night schools that cropped up after vouchers existed.
    
“They don’t know how to make good choices for their children. They really don’t. They didn’t have parents who made good choices for them or help them learn how to make good choices, so they don’t know how to do that.”
    
Is this stunning arrogance typical of the educational establishment? Do they all think they know what’s best for students and parents are just mere rubes?
    
The month before Laing’s comment, Debbie Squires of Michigan’s elementary and middle school principal’s association told her state’s House Education Committee that parents may want what’s best for their children, they just don’t know what it is.

 

 But, of course, the educrats do. An unsurprisingly, their solution happens to be their one-size-fits-all government-run, government-funded education system.
    
After Mikel Holt exposed Laing’s condescending comment in the Milwaukee Community Journal, Laing apologized but said her comments were “take out of context.”
    
She said in a statement, “What I intended and what I should have said is that many parents, regardless of race, do not have access to the information or tools to make the best educational choices for their children.”
    
Parenthetically, what has Laing done to offer “access to the information or tools” so parents can make the best choices?
    
More surprisingly, school board member Rev. Melvin Hargrove, a black minister, defended her comments, saying there are “some African-American families that have been take advantage of via the school voucher program.”
     
When parents have “allies” such as these, who needs enemies?

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