THOMAS/Hypocrisy once meant something

THOMAS/Hypocrisy once meant something


There was a time in bygone America when calling someone a “hypocrite” or claiming they were guilty of hypocrisy was equivalent to branding them with a scarlet letter or the mark of Cain.

Today, in an era of opinion polls, trendsetting, and ever-shifting political winds, hypocrisy means little to nothing. Both parties are guilty of this, though it appears Democrats have mastered the craft.

The latest that caught my attention comes courtesy of the president of the Chicago Teachers Union. Stacy Davis Gates has called school choice racist and, according to the Wall Street Journal, “has made it her mission to kill an Illinois scholarship program for low-income children.”

That the program benefits primarily people of color in urban areas doesn’t seem to matter to Gates, who is Black.

What earns Gates the hypocrite label is that while denouncing school choice for others, she has exercised it for herself. She has pulled her son from an apparently underperforming neighborhood public school and enrolled him in a private Catholic school that will cost her $16,000 a year, citing a “disinvestment in public schools” on the South Side.  She is leaving her two other children in public school. I wonder how they feel about such unequal treatment by their mother?

What about poor kids and their parents who are unable to do what she has done? Too bad for them. This inequality is a consequence of a monopolistic school system that has long outlived its usefulness.

Illinois’ “Invest in Kids Program” paid for 9,000 scholarships last year. There were 31,000 applicants. The same disparity has occurred in Washington, D.C., and other places where limited choice programs and limited funds are available. That so many largely Democratic politicians oppose school choice and in some cases have allowed their programs to expire, dooming low-income children to a bad education, is worse than hypocrisy. It is a disgrace and its own form of racism.

Gates defends her decision in a way that any parent can understand. “There is not a lot to offer Black youth who are entering high school,” (in Chicago), she said. “In many of our schools on the South Side and the West Side, the course offerings are very marginal and limited. Then the other thing, and it was a very strong priority, was his ability to participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities, which quite frankly, don’t exist in many of the schools, high schools in particular.”

Right there, Gates has made the case for school choice for everyone.

The Illinois program will soon end unless it is renewed by the state legislature and approved by Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). Since mostly Democrat politicians are beneficiaries of donations from the teachers union, it will be interesting to see what Illinois decides to do.

If they allow the program to die, the hopes for a better life of 40,000 Illinois children and their parents will be dashed. There will then be only one option for resurrecting the program and that is to vote for political leaders who support school choice.

School choice is spreading rapidly. According to the publication Education Week: “So far this year, lawmakers in 14 states have passed bills establishing school choice programs or expanding existing ones, and lawmakers in 42 states have introduced such bills, according to EdChoice, a nonprofit that tracks and advocates for school choice policies, and FutureEd, a Georgetown University-based education policy research center.”

If the Illinois scholarship program is allowed to end and parents continue to vote for Democrats who would effectively deny their kids the chance for a better life they will be accessories, along with the teachers unions, in their child’s lack of opportunity. Democrats have styled themselves as advocates for the poor. Failing to renew the Illinois program would deservedly earn them the hypocrisy label with a dishonor cluster.

Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book “A Watchman in the Night: What I’ve Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America” .

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