Commentary

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s School Choice

Over at Reason’s Hit and Run, my colleague, Katherine Mangu-Ward, explains how D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty uses his status to exercise school choice for his beloved children:

So, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty pledged to send his kids to public schools four years ago, in the misguided belief that letting his kids suffer in the capital’s terrible schools will somehow mean he doesn’t have to address school choice as a serious policy issue.

Flash forward to 2009, and he is (a) not addressing school choice as a serious policy issue, and (b) his kids are enrolled in public schools, just like everyone else. Sort of. His neighborhood school—West Elementary, at 14th and Farragut Streets NW—isn’t the greatest. Magically, his twin sons are enrolled in the much, much better Lafayette Elementary, on the far side of Rock Creek Park.

Reporters start asking questions, Fenty refuses to answer—thus indicating that he obviously did call in special favors—and then gets testy, calling family decisions about his kids’ education “private.” Parents across the city snort and mutter something about how nice it would be if they got to make private decisions about where their kids went to school, too.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.