Alabama native and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently vented on Fox News about her opinion that liberals’ tend to play racial politics, rather than debate policy differences.
“We are not race blind. Of course we still have racial tensions in this country,” she conceded to Fox’s Brian Kilmeade. “But the United States of America has made enormous progress in race relations and it is still the best place on Earth to be a minority. And as a Republican black woman from the South, I would say to them, ‘Really? Is that really the argument that you’re going to make in 2014?’”
But Rice wasn’t done. She later went on the offense, claiming that liberal Democrats and their teachers unions allies are the ones who are racist because they oppose school choice, which Rice called America’s “biggest civil rights issue.”
“Poor black kids trapped in failing neighborhoods schools, that’s the biggest race problem of today,” she said. “That’s the biggest civil rights issue of today. Anybody who isn’t in favor of school choice, anybody who isn’t in favor of educational reform, anybody who defends the status quo in the educational system — that’s racist to me.”
In Alabama, school choice has been one of the most hotly debated issues in recent years. The Alabama Accountability Act, a bill that for the first time made it possible for Alabama children to transfer out of failing schools, has drawn the ire of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) and Democratic legislators.
Rice said she believes it’s important for Republicans to continue pushing education reforms while Democrats vote with the unions and against their constituents.
“The Republican Party — we’re the Party of education reform and school choice and giving parents a chance to get poor kids out of failing neighborhood public schools,” she said. “(We’re) not defending poor teachers, not defending union policies…”
Republicans are expected to push legislation expanding school choice — namely charter schools — in Alabama during the upcoming legislative session.
Alabama is currently one of only eight states in the country that does not allow charter schools, which are publicly funded but operated by independent, non-government groups. They are open to all children, do not charge tuition and do not have special requirements for admission.
What advocates say they do have, however, is the freedom to get out from under burdensome government regulations and the bureaucracy to which many public schools are beholden. They have more flexibility when it comes to curriculum and the hours they meet, and are not bound by teachers’ union contracts, which gives them more leeway with regard to what teachers they hire and fire.
But in exchange for that flexibility, the schools must meet tough accountability standards. If a school does not meet the standards, it is closed, which has happened in roughly 15 percent of charters around the country.
They are called “charter schools” because they enter into a “charter” with the state that details the general terms outlined above.
“The great thing about the United States of America is that you can be of any color, any ethnic group, any nationality, any religion, and you can have dreams and aspirations that are your own and then you can pursue them,” Secretary Rice said in conclusion. “That’s what this country is about.”
Like this article? Follow me on Twitter and let me know what you think.
— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014