Williams: ‘Corrupt’ leaders ignore bad schools

“Corrupted” by teachers union money, black leaders who spoke at Saturday’s March on Washington failed to speak out against bad schools, charged Fox News contributor Juan Williams on “The O’Reilly Factor.” The march commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

King would “stand up and act against bad schools that are condemning these kids to useless lives because they never have an opportunity to climb that ladder of upward mobility,” Williams said. “And the civil rights challenge of this generation is education, and Dr. King would never allow anybody to buy his silence, to buy him off, to sell out the kids and that’s what’s happening right now.”

Teachers’ unions have given tens of thousands of dollars to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and NAACP because “they don’t want those civil rights leaders to ever stand up and say yes to charter schools, yes to vouchers, yes to school reform,” Williams charged.

Civil rights leaders are “selling out,” Williams said. “And that is corruption and it’s corruption of a great movement.”

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Williams is right. Late to the party, but that’s him.
    However, there are probably more reasons for supporting the race hustlers and poverty pimps. It makes a certain kind of person feel GOOOOOOOD, with other people’s money, as opposed to those nasty, racist conservatives.

    • Mr. Williams received an education on tolerance fairly late in life courtesy of the paragons of tolerance that inhabit the halls of National Public Radio. It’s nice to see that their efforts weren’t wasted.

    • Those ‘nasty racist conservatives’ (as you called them yourself) would happily bleed the poor school districts dry, and give all the money to the wealthy school districts. The advantaged get more advantaged, and the disadvantaged get more disadvantaged. And what happens when the disadvantaged try to ask for more money so they can fix the problem? They get punished for being poor – and given no opportunity to fix it. A ‘catch-22’ they can never escape from.

  2. The original march on Washington was held jointly with union leaders who had strongly backed the civil rights movement. Among other goals, Dr. King was asking for an increase in the minimum wage. It is a sad commentary on how far we are from achieving his vision that the buying power of the current minimum wage is lower than the minimum wage that Martin Luther King was protesting as unjust.

    Aside from that, it is remarkable to me how emotional people can get over things that should be a straightforward matter of facts, no emotions needed. Charters are either a good thing or a bad thing. Getting angry and calling people who don’t support charters “corrupt” doesn’t add anything to the conversation. Fact is no high achieving nation got that way by using charter schools. Sweden, the nation with the strongest pro school choice laws, has mediocre education results. The latest round of testing aligned with Common Core standards, seems to suggest that even once high achieving charter franchises such as KIPP, are not getting results that are any better than traditional public schools. The one exception to this are the Success Academy charter schools.

    I await with amusement a series of highly emotional but fact free responses denouncing me for failing to suggest that charter schools are either 100% good or or 100% evil.

    • Union leaders strongly backed the civil rights movement? Maybe some but the skilled trades were kept as lily white as possible for as long as possible. The industrial unions gave ground only grudgingly and then under the pressure wartime necessity during WWII but then what would you expect from an organization built on coercion?

      Describing the leadership of the NAACP as corrupt for taking up with the NEA against the interests of the poor, black people the NAACP claims to represent is merely being accurate.

      And please don’t use the phrase “fact is” since your acquaintanceship with facts is clearly accidental when it occurs at all. Sweden’s OECD ranking is only one point different then that of the U.S. which has a quite modest choice environment and other nations which have zero choice component in their government education system.

      The one inescapable truth about all government programs, including education, is that they’re no better then they have to be to avoid public outcry and quite often don’t manage to surpass that modest standard since the education system is the possessor of the information by which it can be judged.

      How’s that “amusement” thing working out for you?

    • Not only was union membership often a tool for keeping blacks out of many jobs, but so were minimum wage laws. Such laws kept those who might be willing to work for less, likely to be disproportionately black and/or young, from being hired. Minimum wage laws still work to keep out the less skilled, because businesses will not pay workers more than they are worth; unlike government, businesses must make a profit to survive.

      • Sorry, but the facts are not going to disappear. AFL-CIO Vice President A. Philip Randolph, along with Bayard Rustin, field coordinator, conceptualized and called for the march. The UAW, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and the Transport Workers also supported the march. And like it or not, Martin Luther King was calling for an increase in the minimum wage as a part of this march.

        Allen, your highly emotional “one inescapable truth about all government programs” doesn’t really square with the excellent educational results found in Finland, Singapore, and Korea.

        If you are expecting me to get hot under the collar about Sweden, you’re going to be disappointed. I don’t have any emotional investment in their school choice schemes. Sweden’s system is not all good or all bad. It’s results are mediocre, as the facts you yourself cited show.

        • GEORGE LARSON says:


          Do you recall an executive order called the Phildelphia Plan to combat institutionalized discrimination in “specific skilled building trades unions”

          From wikipedia
          The Revised Philadelphia Plan required government contractors in Philadelphia to hire minority workers, under the authority of Executive Order 11246. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Wage and Labor Standards Arthur Fletcher implemented the Revised Philadelphia Plan in 1969, based on an earlier plan developed in 1967 by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance and the Philadelphia Federal Executive Board. The plan required federal contractors to meet certain goals for the hiring of African American employees by specific dates in order to combat institutionalized discrimination on the part of specific skilled building trades unions. The plan was quickly extended to other cities. In 1971, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Third Circuit’s decision in the case of Contractors’ Association of Eastern Pennsylvania v. Shultz, et al.,[1] in effect upholding the Revised Philadelphia Plan.

        • Roger Sweeny says:

          Ray is right that many unions and union leaders backed the march. Allen and George Larson are right that many of the skilled trade unions were as white as a Philadelphia snow storm and were trying to keep it that way.

          Ray is right that King was calling for an increase in the minimum wage. Momof4 is right that minimum wage laws “work to keep out the less skilled.” Ironically, they may be one reason the results of the last 50 years have been so disappointing.

          • Richard Aubrey says:

            The primary benefit of a minimum wage job,or a first job, is the next job.
            After the Detroit riots of 1967, the Big Three made an effort to hire blacks from the inner city. Turns out some of them need an accomodation; another employee to come to their house and wake them up. They had never had a job where they had to be someplace on time, every time. It was completely foreign to them. I was living about two miles from Detroit at the time and the experiment was watched with interest in the papers.
            The culture of dependency was nowhere near as advanced as it is today.
            Hence, the benefit of the first and likely min-wage job. You learn to show up on time, presuming you have the capacity.

        • Ray, the facts are not going to disappear only when they put in an appearance. So far all you’ve demonstrated is that some union leadership was willing to talk the talk but the color of union membership makes it clear they weren’t willing to walk the walk. Heck, up until the mid-nineties there was hardly a black face in Local 687 although I’m pretty sure a hammer can’t tell the color of the hand that’s swinging it.

          And my “highly emotional” observation is unimpacted by the existence of outliers.

          The Detroit Public Schools district isn’t proven to be a good school district due to the existence of a couple of decent schools within the system. It’s still a rotten district but unusual conditions allow for the occasional point of light. And those occasional points of light? They’re no goad to the district as a whole to improve. Rather, they’re an embarrassment that can’t be conveniently disposed of so is allowed to continue to exist.

          That dynamic operates at the national level as well in that a public education system reflexively treats standards as a ceiling to complain about being required to achieve rather then a floor below which the system must not drop.

          Finland, Singapore, and Korea may be at the top of the rankings now but that’s only because their public education establishment has been flogged to improve performance at a faster rate then the organizational erosion rate causes performance to disappear. When that pressure disappears so will the attainments.

          As for parental choice, that’s always the right policy even if the public’s been cowed into accepting the undemonstrated expertise of purported experts to the exclusion of parental choice. But we appear to be rethinking that conclusion.

          • Your highly emotional beliefs are as always untouched by facts. If Singapore, Korea, and Finland with their millions of students are “outliers”, then I’m happy to throw in more high achieving school systems: Canada, Japan, Shanghai, New Zealand, Australia, and the Netherlands.

            You seem to have forgotten Sweden altogether. Any explanation for why it’s results don’t match up with the predictions of extremists on either side to the charter school/voucher issue?

            What fanatics on the left and right of any issue have in common, is that their rigid ideology is never altered by exposure to inconvenient facts.

          • My highly emotional beliefs appear to have put an end to those paragons of racial virtue – unions – in this conversation. Or did you forget about that?

            You can throw whatever scats you want against the wall in the hope that they’ll stick but government education, like all agencies of government, is limited to attaining the minimal level of performance required by such oversight bodies as may exist and very often doesn’t meet those standards. Government education is no exception except locally, dependent on exceptional conditions which seem largely immune to duplication.

            The various paragons of government education you’ve named are only fractionally better then the mediocre and share with the mediocre no particular effort to further improve the efficiency/lower the cost of education beyond their current not-so-lofty attainments. I suppose when “dreadful” is the mean “mediocre” looks pretty good but it doesn’t look good to me.

            My standard is the relentless improvement fostered by having a personal stake in the outcome and there’s not a one of those countries you’ve named in which education is so organized that excellence is rewarded and successful innovation is highly rewarded. That standard explicitly excludes government education, and government endeavors in general, and uniformly encompasses the private sector.

            Gratifyingly, the inherent foolishness of government education seems to have finally gained a degree of cognizance in the populace. The impetus for the political movement that’s deconstructing the public education system is predicated less, to the extent it’s predicated at all, on any overblown predictions of the efficacy of charters then the realization that no one’s going to care as much about their child then their parents.

            There’s the real problem for defenders of the current model of public education; the public’s not anywhere near as certain as not that long ago that the experts, to the degree they are, should be in charge of a child’s education to the exclusion of parental concerns. There’s really no persuading against that belief because it’s so obviously true.