John McCain and Barack Obama disagreed during Wednesday night’s presidential debate on whether the head of the District of Columbia’s school system supports vouchers. McCain insisted she does — and he was right.
The exchange during the debate went like this:
Obama: “The D.C. school system is in terrible shape, and it has been for a very long time. And we’ve got a wonderful new superintendent there who’s working very hard with the young mayor there to try."
McCain: “Who supports vouchers.”
Obama: “Who initiated — actually, supports charters.”
McCain: “She supports vouchers also.”
The “she” McCain referred to obviously was Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and not Mayor Adrian Fenty, who is male.
The fact is, Rhee supports giving vouchers to D.C. schoolchildren so that they might escape the city’s struggling public schools and attend private school with taxpayer funding, The Washington Post reported.
The Post cited an interview Rhee gave to the Wall Street Journal last December, when she said: “I would never, as long as I am in this role, do anything to limit another parent’s ability to make a choice for their child. Ever.”
Marc Fisher writes on his Washington Post blog: “Obama is right to focus on the District’s extensive charter school system as the primary alternative to the regular public schools in the city, and Rhee certainly talks much more about the charters than about vouchers.
“But while she and Mayor Adrian Fenty may not care much for vouchers, neither has lifted a finger to oppose them.”
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