Cal  Thomas

"Waiting for Superman" is the new film by documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, director of "An Inconvenient Truth," and it should be mandatory viewing for every member of Congress.

As a synopsis on the Fandango movie site says, this film "explores the tragic ways in which the American public education system is failing our nation's children..."

Not only do we see children and their parents on the edge of their seats during a lottery that will determine who gets the educational equivalent of a "get out of jail free" card, we also watch the crestfallen faces of those who don't draw the magic numbers for decent schools, a better education and, thus, a hope for the future. Is this how a poor child's destiny should be decided, by lottery?

During a recent appearance on the "Today" show, a woman in the audience asked President Obama why he selected a tony private school for his daughters -- Sidwell Friends, where tuition is $31,069 a year -- over D.C. public schools. He said Sasha and Malia could not receive the same level of education from D.C. public schools that they get at Sidwell Friends.

The president said because of his position "we could probably maneuver" to get them into one of the better public schools, but he said the "broader problem" is that parents without "a bunch of connections" don't have such options.

Nice try, but if he wanted to place his daughters in a public school, no connections would be needed. Jimmy Carter sent his daughter, Amy, to a public school when he was president. The issue for the Obamas and everyone else with school-age kids is which school provides them the best education?

The poor do not have a choice, other than a lottery. This is immoral.

Members of Congress -- mostly Democrats -- are channeling the late Alabama Governor George Wallace, who in 1963 stood in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama to prevent blacks from entering. Today, certain members of Congress are metaphorically standing in schoolhouse doors, preventing the poor from leaving.

Asked for a review of the "Superman" film, the president said it is "heartbreaking" and that the educational future of children "shouldn't depend on the bounce of a ball." And yet it does and the reason is that too many politicians are in the pocket of the teachers unions, which pour gobs of money into their re-election coffers. Some members of Congress act as if their futures are more important than the future of a child.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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