Thursday, August 30, 2012

Virginia Walden Ford: "I am offended" by racist Louisiana teachers' union attacks

After the Louisiana Federation of Teachers took to Twitter to spread baseless rumors that the Black Alliance for Educational Options supported “teaching that the KKK is good,” longtime education reformer Virginia Walden Ford, who was instrumental in fighting for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, wrote the following letter:

Last night, I learned that the Louisiana Federation of Teachers took to Twitter to spread a false, ridiculous, and offense rumor.  They claimed that the Black Alliance for Educational Options—an organization that fights to provide a high-quality education to black children—supports teaching that the Kl Klux Klan is good.

I am offended.

The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is a group that works tirelessly to ensure that black children have access to the best educational options.  The reality is that black children are being left behind: the achievement gap is far too large and more black men are in prisons than in colleges in this country.

In Washington, D.C., I worked side-by-side with BAEO to fight for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.  We worked together because the children of D.C.—just like the children in Louisiana and all across the country—deserve a great education.  It is our duty to ensure that all of our children, especially our disadvantaged children—receive a great education.  And it’s working.  In D.C. scholarship program, more than 85 percent of participating students are African American and the program has a graduation rate of 91 percent.  And just last week, the Brookings Institution and Harvard University released a study that demonstrated that African American students who receive a voucher are 24 percent more likely to enroll in college.

We have come so far as a nation, but we have so more work to do.  Growing up, I attended one the first desegregated high schools in Arkansas.  Today, we have leaders standing up for our children.  Great leaders, from Condoleezza Rice—who just yesterday called our education crisis the social justice issue of our time—to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, are fighting entrenched special interest groups that are more interested in protecting the status quo than in finding solutions to our education crisis.

I believe in school choice because the children that we have been left behind need an educational lifeline and they need it now.  Vouchers provide that opportunity.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers owes BAEO an apology.  I have spent my life working—alongside BAEO and all school choice advocates—to provide a better education for our children.  And I didn’t do it to be accused of supporting a hate group that terrorized a generation of Americans by spreading hate and fear.


- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps Virginia Walden Ford was simply not aware of the larger context in which the comments attributed to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers were alleged made. BAEO did, in fact, provide heavy support for the voucher bill in Louisiana. This bill, championed (falsely, I might add) as a way for low income children to escape "failing schools" led directly to the approval of various schools with NO EVALUATION of the schools and the curriculum each of them was using. The textbooks in a number of these schools, did, in fact, allege that the KKK worked closely with local groups to improve the communities. Louisiana Federation of Teachers merely pointed out that BAEO did support the laws that led directly to this outcome. BAEO opposed any real accountability for the schools receiving the tax dollars. BAEO supports and works closely with the Louisiana Charter School Association, a group that has supported schools which are clearly involved in discrimination against African-Americans, against children with special needs, and against low income students. These facts are conveniently ignored as the money pours into BAEO from special interests who do NOT have the interest of African-American students at heart, but instead, have their own profit motives in mind as they ignore the segregation of the charters and private and parochial schools not subject (thanks in large part to BAEO) to any real accountability.