Kay Coles James, former director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under George W. Bush, also served as co-chair of the Management and Budget teams on President Donald Trump’s transition team.
James, a school choice-supporting Heritage Foundation trustee, compared what whites of a certain political party did to block blacks from attending white schools during the 1950s and 1960s to how they’re presently opposing school choice, which would help low-income black families.
James wrote in an op-ed for Heritage’s Daily Signal that in 1961, she was one of 26 black students assigned to integrate a middle school in Richmond, Virginia.
For the first month at Chandler, I never made it through the packed hallways between classes without at least one white student pricking me with a pin.
Sometimes, I was stuck so many times I had to press my dress against my body to keep the red streams from dripping down my legs.
It was awful, but it was worth it. In my own little way, I knew I was fighting for our equal right to get a great education.
Little did I know that more than half a century later, other girls and boys would still be fighting for education equality. Many of those kids are African-American like me, and the families many of them come from are poor and broken, like mine was.
James called those who oppose school choice “anti-reform forces” blocking these children from better schools, government and private. She noted that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified about ensuring equal opportunity in education, but she’s being attacked as someone with contrary intentions.
Today in America, that right is conditional. If you are wealthy, white, connected, or elected, your child probably goes to or graduated from a great school.
But if you are African-American or Latino and living in a poor urban neighborhood, your child is much more likely to go to a failing school, a school where more than half of all students can’t read or write well, have low math scores, face the daily threat of bullying and violence, and won’t graduate.
Do these sound like “equal terms” to you?