Governor Matt Blunt's increasingly controversial appointee to the State Board of Education, former private school operator Donayle Whitmore-Smith says that if Martin Luther King were here today, he would be a wholehearted supporter of the voucher (or the euphemism currently being used- school choice) movement.
In a guest column in the Jan. 18, 2006, St. Louis American commemorating Dr. King's birthday, Ms. Whitmore-Smith said:
But what is most troubling is the amount of energy we spend talking about our education problems. Dr. King was a man of action. In his time, people rolled up their sleeves and created solutions for the community's issues. We constantly keep discussing reforming the school district, building better educational facilities, balancing the budget, but what about educating the children? As well as raising the scores of black and brown children who come from impoverished conditions and whose families have little resources or opportunities? It's a known fact that you have a choice of schools for your children, if you have money.
I’m confident that Dr. King would have wanted us to focus on empowering individuals, not marrying ourselves to systems. His message was about consistent change and growth to become real stakeholders in America. We will not see that level of growth collectively, if we continue to do things the same way. It is a tragedy that the mental murder of thousands of black children is occurring across America as we speak and we waste our time arguing over the delivery mechanisms.
Ms. Whitmore-Smith has not only charged pubilc schools with "the mental murder of thousands of black children," but as I noted Tuesday in The Turner Report:
In a February 2005 article in the pro-voucher publication School Reform News, Ms. Whitmore-Smith said that she had attended private schools until high school and her experience at a public school was "hell." Ms. Whitmore-Smith said, "Academically, it just couldn't match what I'd been getting (in private schools)."
This is the woman the governor wants making decisions affecting Missouri's public schools. Not only does she have an obvious anti-public education agenda, but it is becoming clear that Matt Blunt shares that agenda.