Star Parker

An incensed Andrew Sullivan -- homosexual journalist and activist -- told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper the other night that Barack Obama is ducking the "core civil rights challenge of his time."

For once, I find myself on the same page with Sullivan.

But he and I have very different ideas about what that "core civil rights challenge" is.

For Sullivan it's "gay rights." For me it's school choice.

We've got all kinds of flowery rhetoric from our president about the education crisis and the need to do everything to educate our kids. But, as is unfortunately often the case, Mr Obama's deeds are less inspiring than his words.

Most recently, and flagrantly, was the announcement that Obama would sit by and allow Congress to pull the plug on the five-year old voucher program enabling 1700 kids in Washington, DC to attend private schools. This despite a new study from Obama's own Department of Education saying that these kids outperformed their peers in DC public schools in reading. And that the vouchers, valued up to $7500 per scholarship, cost less than half the $17,000 per student that DC spends to maintain one of the worst public school systems in the country.

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It's no secret that President Obama is very much the politician, and in this case one beholden to unions. So perhaps educating children is important to our president. But not quite as important as the perks of elected office.

But back to Mr. Sullivan, we have more than a difference of opinion about civil rights and political priorities. Sullivan's agenda not only is different from mine, but is one of the reasons I attach such importance to school choice.

Listening to Sullivan, you'd think that Barack Obama is anywhere from apathetic to antipathetic to the homosexual agenda. When Anderson Cooper asked him if Obama has "actually done anything", Sullivan darted back "No!"

But the president has proclaimed June "LGBT" (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) month, with a long list of agenda items, including repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

His Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just announced that same-sex couples in America's diplomatic corps around the world will now be treated identically, getting the same benefits, as traditional married couples.

And, a few days ago, the Obama administration announced the appointment of homosexual activist Kevin Jennings as assistant deputy secretary in the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-free Schools.

Included in the mission of this office, according to the Education Department website, is "Administer the Department's programs relating to character and civics education."

Jennings founded and was executive director of GLSEN -- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network -- whose mission is to strive "to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression."

So what exactly is Sullivan upset about? This administration is assuring that children in America's public schools will be properly educated to see all forms of sexual behavior as acceptable.

But parents who don't want this have plenty to be upset about. Today's real minority group is low to middle income parents who want their children educated with traditional values.

Needless to say, sexual moral relativism is the last thing that black kids need to hear in school. Most important for these kids, who come overwhelmingly from single parent homes, and half in our urban public schools that don't graduate, is to be taught traditional values.

Of the 1700 kids in DC's soon to be defunct voucher program, 879 have been attending Catholic elementary or high schools.

Liberating our kids from the cesspools in our urban areas that we call public schools is the great "civil rights challenge" of our time.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.


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