Michelle Obama must blame her own political party when she warns that a pattern of segregation may be returning to the nation's school system, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus says.
"What Mrs. Obama is missing is that her own party has been the party of no when it comes to opportunities for kids and parents to leave failing schools," Priebus told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"It's her party that's decided that their general-view plan is going to be that whatever zip code you're in, no matter how bad the school district is, your kids are going to have to go to a failing school,'' he said Monday.
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In a speech Friday before graduating high school seniors in Topeka, Kansas, the first lady marked the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that ended school segregation.
She praised the decision but warned that school segregation could return as different races band together in separate communities.
"Many districts in this country have actually pulled back on efforts to integrate their schools, and many communities have become less diverse as folks have moved from cities to suburbs," Obama told the students.
"So today, by some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. [Martin Luther] King gave his final speech. As a result, many young people in America are going to school largely with kids who look just like them."
She added that a number of schools in minority areas do not have the same resources as others.
Priebus told Malzberg the Republican Party's message is that "every parent in America ought to have the freedom and flexibility to send their kid to the best school and the school of their choice."
"That is an issue that is about freedom, it's about opportunity, it's about equality, and I can't see a better way to celebrate the 60th-year anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education than to step up and say, we're for school choice and every parent in America ought to have that freedom."
Priebus said the issue should be decided by ballot all over the country.
"Look, I grew up in Wisconsin, as you know, Tommy Thompson, that's the governor from a little ways back, championed the first private school voucher bill in America," Priebus said.
"Milwaukee and the kids are doing better, the schools are better, both the competition within the city and to the choice schools, everyone is doing better.
"And now [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker expanded school choice in Wisconsin and you're seeing Republican governors across America like [Louisiana Gov.] Bobby Jindal and others that are expanding school choice because it's the right thing to do."
He said the issue of school choice is a good way for Attorney General Eric Holder to "embrace school choice for families here in [Washington,] D.C., and families across the country."
"But my guess is he won't because the teachers' union has a stranglehold over the Democratic Party.
Asked about whether he thinks former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who has a new memoir, "Hard Choices,"
being published next week — will run for president in 2016, Priebus said he isn't sure.
"I don't know, but for one thing, when people have books coming out, publishers purposefully tell these folks to make sure that whatever you do . . . keep all the things moving . . . just make it look like you are going to run and you'll sell more books," Preibus said.
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