Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Cantor pushes school vouchers, calls out Attorney General in Philly visit

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the U.S. House's majority leader, interrupted a 10th grade geography lesson during a tour of Freire Charter School in Center City this morning before delivering a speech that jumped all over the political map.

Cantor pushes school vouchers, calls out Attorney General in Philly visit

US. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. (AP File Photo)<br />
US. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. (AP File Photo) J. Scott Applewhite

U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the U.S. House majority leader, interrupted a 10th grade geography lesson during a tour of Freire Charter School in Center City this morning before delivering a speech that jumped all over the political map.

Cantor, a Virginia Republican, came to Philadelphia to complain about federal education funding policy in Washington D.C. and to call out U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for a lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice filed last month against the state of Louisiana.

The Justice Department wants to stop Louisiana from using public school money to pay for private school tuition in nearly half of that state's school districts since they remain under a federal desegregation order. 

Holder called "absurd" the Department of Justice claim that the school voucher program would impede desegregation in Louisiana.

"The truth is an overwhelming majority of the students who receive the scholarships and benefits from this program are minority children from low-income families," Cantor told students assembled in Freire's gym for his speech.

He called on Holder to withdraw the lawsuit for face the wrath of the U.S. House.

"If the Attorney General does not withdraw this suit, then the United States House will act," Cantor said. "We will leave no stone unturned in holding him accountable for this decision."

Cantor did not take questions from the media after his speech, so it was unclear how any action he takes in the House would impact Holder since the U.S. Senate is controlled by Democrats and President Obama appointed Holder to the job.

Cantor did not mention the Philadelphia School District funding crisis in his speech. Instead, he framed school choice as "the greatest civil rights challenge of our time."  He lamented "hundreds of billions" the federal government has spent since the mid 1960s trying to improve education, saying it has had "little to no effect."

He also predicted that school vouchers "will be a reality for every student in America" within the next 10 years.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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