September 3, 2009 12:21AM

Actions Speak Louder than Words, Mr. President

NRO points out that, after criticism from pundits and the blogosphere, the Obama administration has revised its suggested curriculum activities tied to his speech to schoolchildren next Tuesday. Originally, the Department of Education’s “Menu of Activities” recommended that elementary school children “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” The new guidance suggests that students should write letters about realizing their own education goals.

It’s a relief to see the administration redress the Orwellian undertone of its original curriculum guidance. But the real problem isn’t what the president or the education department have to SAY. The problem is what they are actually doing.

If the president really wants to improve academic achievement and raise graduation rates, why did he kill the federal private school choice program in Washington DC? His own education department reports that this program significantly raises students’ academic achievement, and it’s doing so at one quarter the cost of the city’s public schools. Several scientific studies also show that private schools significantly raise the high school graduation rate over the level of public schools, especially for inner‐​city African American students who are at a high risk of dropping out. And that holds true even when the public and private school students being compared come from similar families.

Instead of just telling kids to get good grades and stay in school, president Obama should support policies that are proven to achieve those goals. Actions speak louder than words, Mr. president.