Reason.tv: Fox News' Juan Williams on School Choice

At FreedomFest 2011, Reason's Matt Welch spoke with Fox News' Juan Williams about his passion for school choice reform, which Williams describes as the "civil rights issue of our time."

Williams is the author of the new book Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, which recounts in part his controversial firing from National Public Radio. He's also the author of the critically acclaimed 1988 history of the civil rights movement, Eyes on the Prize.

Williams says he first came to the issue of education reform in the 1990s, when he was astonished by the level of dropout rates in inner-city schools, which disproportionately affects low-income and minority students. He credits George W. Bush for coining the phrase "the soft bigotry of low expectations" to describe the educational status quo and remains surprised by the lack of widespread outrage from parents whose children are stuck in such failing schools. Still, he believes that the forces of school choice are making huge headway in breaking up a public school monopoly that fails to serve students and parents.

Shot by Jim Epstein and edited by Anthony L. Fisher. About 5 minutes long.

Held each July in Las Vegas, FreedomFest is attended by around 2,000 limited-government and libertarians a year. Reason.tv spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing our interviews over the coming weeks. For an ever-growing playlist, go here now.

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  • OO||

    vouchers started in ohio. i got no problem w vouchers as long as the LOCAL VOTERS APPROVE the transfer of local property taxes to for-profit charters. WITHOUT LOCAL VOTER APPROVAL, VOUCHERS ARE AN ABUSE OF PROPERTY RIGHTS!

  • ||

    1) You get an F for that tirade, and

    2) how about we dispose of public education altogether?

  • OO||

    like in somalia?

  • Somali Fucking Schoolchildren||

    We don't need no education. All we need is good beer, some women, and occasional blow-job, and some arms trade from the American imperialist dog white satans.

    Oh, and can we fuckin' get a Starbucks, or what?

  • pmains||

    That didn't take long.

    Also, here is the Somaliland Ministry of Education. But that doesn't count as SOMALIAAA!!!1! I suppose.

  • Jim||

    You're joking, but Tulpa actually brought it up as a real point last night against anarchism. The conversation died out shortly thereafter.

    If you're reading this, Tulpa, there's a reason (drink?) we make fun of the SOMALIA ZOMG!!!11!1 argument.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Meanwhile, a cell carrier is getting ready to launch a 3G network in Somaliland. I have no idea how they did this without the guiding hand of the FCC and without government broadband investment grants (including ones targeted at disadvantaged minorities).

    Next thing you know, those Somalis will be building road, airports, running central banks, and running an airline without government help.

  • Sidd Finch||

    You do know that Somaliland has a government, right?

  • ||

    But is it a government with a giant sweaty nutsack like ours?

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Somali schools were well known to be amongst the best in the world before their government collapsed.

  • MWG||

    Why are people responding to this shit? We have one response for this here at H&R and it's: DRINK!

  • pmains||

    Why do you oppose education, RPA? Why? (puppy dog eyes)

  • ||

    Well, all those blacks and women should know their place -- in the kitchens and on the plantations *wiggles monocle*! Education is for TOP MEN

  • Rick W. Perry||

    Fucking nigger!

  • Ole Pappy Robert F. Cornbrew||

    What the fuck?

  • OO||

    just feel that ol evangelical luuv !

  • Rick W. Perry||

    You comin' to my prayer meeting brother?

    Pray for Texas, white folks, rain, and against the Kenyan.

  • Skid Marx||

    Nice sockpuppet you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

  • Skid Marx||

    Can we get a banhammer for this asshole?^^^^

  • Rick W. Perry||

    You a Godless Commie Lib!

  • Rick W. Perry||

    I'm a Texan! We pray for Jesus, hate Jews and niggers, and vote Republican!

  • Chris Rock||

    How about me? I love black people, but I can't stand niggas.

  • Lefty||

    but, but, but HE'S ON FAUX NEWS!!!11!

  • OO||

    us lubrahls renamed faux the murdoch fartbubble. and that chinese beyoch better not try n slap me

  • BRM||

    Public education funded at the local level is the best means of quality education assuming the parents are all pulling in the same direction towards that good quality education.

    Part of the lack of outrage at the crappy schools that Mr. Williams is surprised by is due to the lack of parental concern on the part of parents who think that their responsibility ends at the orgasm. They are Parents in Name Only (PINO's)

    Those parents who are more than bio-mom/dads can't swim upstream against the Eduocracy composed Dems/Unions/Left-wing Useful Idiots (including his chosen profession) while also carrying the weight of these PINO's.

    No surprise there, just sadness.

  • OO||

    whadda mean "cant swim upstream"? both my girls got a quality public education & earned VBall full-rides. no sadness here

  • Gibby||

    What the fuck is vaginaball?

  • ||

    Would you like a list?

  • ||

    "both my girls got a quality public education & earned VBall full-rides. no sadness here"

    Translation: "hey my public school in my privileged white middle class town was fine. What's the problem!"

  • anchovie breath||

    The problem with that view is that even the "high performing" government schools are mediocre.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The problem with that view is that you just made it up.

  • BRM||

    "whadda mean "cant swim upstream"? both my girls got a quality public education & earned VBall full-rides. no sadness here"

    Congratulations.

    The piece was about DC. Too many people there can't afford Sidwell Friends, and can't afford the 7 figure homes in the 3 nice neighborhoods in DC. They have to struggle against the Education cabal of dems, libs, unions, and useful idiots just to get their kids into a school that won't turn them into functional illiterates who can't read their honor roll certificates. Add to the cabal, a bunch of useless skin bags that don't do anything for their kids or neighborhood, and you get the fragrant mix of unions and PC libs holding back real curricular reform, and a kid who is in a class full of "children of the skin bags" who can't function and don't want to be there.

    If their kids get lucky enough to get a good teacher, then the teacher has to spend half the time doing remedial work with the dullards and disciplining the behavior problems using some ineffective discipline code, and the kid who is there to learn, gets left on their own.

  • anchovie breath||

    "assuming the parents are all pulling in the same direction towards that good quality education"

    And there you have the fundamental problem with collectivism - everyone's fate is tide to the actions of the masses, who may or may not be doing the right thing.

    "Part of the lack of outrage at the crappy schools that Mr. Williams is surprised by is due to the lack of parental concern on the part of parents who think that their responsibility ends at the orgasm."

    I disagree somewhat with this. I think the biggest problem is that too many parents place too much trust in the school system.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "And there you have the fundamental problem with collectivism - everyone's fate is tide to the actions of the masses, who may or may not be doing the right thing."

    Do you have some education plan that doesn't involve mean old women in long skirts that isn't collectivist?

  • ||

    He...remains surprised by the lack of widespread outrage from parents whose children are stuck in such failing schools.

    He's surprised by this? He's surprised that inner-city (sorry, I meant to say "black") parents--who are probably at least the second generation to be born with their hands out for public subsidies, and who've never had a day of parenting where they were fully responsible for their own childbearing and childrearing duties and expenses--don't really care or get that invested in how well their children are educated?

    Why would people who don't have to pay for anything, and will still be able to have a regular "income" even if they blow off school or don't work, care about the quality of their education?

    You make people pay for the education of the children they chose to have; you make sure they understand that if the family doesn't assume the bulk of the responsibility for educating the children with whom they chose to burden this Earth, the kids get to live in the streets with no handouts. And then you watch how parents magically wake the fuck up and take an interest in the quality of their children's education.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    The welfare myth strikes again.

    If you actually knew any poor people on government assistance (or maybe even some African-Americans who receive assistance), you would know how much these parents care about their children and the education they aren't getting.

    My personal knowledge is of parents attempting to homeschool their children, parents driving them 1+ hour each way to a religious school with cheap tuition, and starting their own school in an empty church building and finding anyone they could to fill in as teachers.

    Take your racist garbage elsewhere.

  • ||

    Easy aussie, easy. 'Splain why those blacks vote lockstep Democrat as they pine for the education their children could be receiving.

  • anchovie breath||

    Unfortunately, blacks have been corralled onto the Democrat plantation and are abused by other blacks if they try to leave. AA is right that there are parents of poor urban blacks who work fervently to get their children out of the hellhole of bad government schools. The obstacles they face are tremendous. It's good to remember that not every welfare case is a lost cause.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "blacks have been corralled"

    another thing you just made up

    "AA is right that there are parents of poor urban blacks who work fervently to get their children out of the hellhole of bad government schools."

    Of course he's right that everyone isn't average.

    "The obstacles they face are tremendous."

    Moving is not a tremendous obstacle.

  • ||

    {Unfortunately, blacks have been corralled onto the Democrat plantation and are abused by other blacks if they try to leave.}

    In other words, they're incapable of original thought and/or a modicum of courage.

    {AA is right that there are parents of poor urban blacks who work fervently to get their children out of the hellhole of bad government schools.}

    But on game day they overwhelmingly and unfervently refuse a party or individual that would promise to break the status quo unionism and nanny statism that keep their children from a quality education.

    {The obstacles they face are tremendous.}

    Chief among them, the obstacle of believing that public education in it's current form is the only (or best) answer and the personal courage to embrace an alternative.

    {It's good to remember that not every welfare case is a lost cause.}

    But IS obviously stupid and/or unmotivated.
    An unwittingly demonstration of the elevation of racism to it's nth apogee.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "My personal knowledge"

    LOL

  • Concerned Citizen||

    My wife worked for a few years at a state agency that adjudicated disability claims. There are PLENTY of inner city mothers who are only after the gov't check. The kids get little if any parenting. And the worse the parenting, the more gov't programs they qualify for.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racist

    Read it, aussie, and use the word correctly in the future.

  • NEA||

    Juan Williams is obviously Hitler.

  • NEA||

    First they came for the public school teachers.

  • OO=====D||

    Something I've done countless times:

    http://image.shutterstock.com/.....704109.jpg

  • AlmightyJB||

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well, the point about the ossified K-12 education system in this country has been made many times.

    The K-12 education cartel will have a hard time denying the usefulness of tools such as Khan Academy, however. Amukadari (sp?) linked to this story which features a 10 year old doing inverse trigonometry.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Parents don't complain because they don't think it will do any good. And at the moment, they're right. Urban areas are controlled by those controlled by teachers unions. Voting for someone else, on the other hand, might get them somewhere.

  • Edwin||

    There's needs to be easier petition/referendums processes to change shit like this. This country is too much republic and not enough democracy. If people could actually vote for things, most states would have switched to a charter or voucher education system long ago.

    The only thing I wonder is if I (and/or the Republicans) started campaigning for such a law, would the democrats figure out that it wouldn't be good for their policies and start threatening the signature-takers? Or would it take until after said law is passed and then there are referendums to stop the public unions and switch to school vouchers etc.?

  • ||

    Careful what you wish for. The stupidity of the mob should never be underestimated.

  • ||

    Voting for someone else, on the other hand, might get them somewhere.

    In that case, they are staying right where they are.

  • ||

  • ||

    vouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchersvouchers

  • Sidd Finch||

    "Williams says he first came to the issue of education reform in the 1990s, when he was astonished by the level of dropout rates in inner-city schools, which disproportionately affects low-income and minority students."

    "Williams says he first came to the issue of education reform in the 1990s, when he was astonished by the level of dropout rates in low-income and minority schools, which disproportionately affects inner-city students."

    what a perfectly useless sentence

  • Appalachian Australian||

    ltfy

    "Williams says he first came to the issue of education reform in the 1990s, when he was astonished by the level of dropout rates in union-dominated schools with little accountability to voters, which disproportionately affects low-income and minority students."

  • ||

    I have always liked Juan Williams, even when he was on NPR. He's a liberal, but he's a thinking man's liberal. Take this interview, for instance.

    He approaches the problem from a civil rights/downtrodden minorities angle.

    I approch the problem from a personal liberty/free market angle. And we reach exactly the same conclusion.

    Why it's almost as if objective truth doesn't know an ideology or a political party...

  • anchovie breath||

    "I have always liked Juan Williams"

    Generally, JW seems like a decent fellow, but you'll notice that he just couldn't help expressing surprise that a Republican President actually cared about the fate of blacks and just had to attribute negative Republican attitudes to government schools to politics instead of real concern. He is trapped by his lefty dogma.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Of course your libertarian dogma makes you totally open-minded.

  • ||

    Why yes, in this case, yes, it does.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "He's a liberal, but he's a thinking man's liberal."

    The bolded stuff is enough for me.

  • ||

    If he's a thinking man, he's not very good at it. He seems to be slightly smarter than Bechel (not saying much) - Krauthammer and the other conservatives easily run circles around him.

  • tory burch sandals||

    what a nice school!

  • What did I expect...||

    I was impressed by the handful of thoughtful and interesting articles I've read on this site. I thought hey this is a place isn't like other right of center sites on the internet. Unfortunately I decided to read the comments here and I could of sworn I was reading foxnation.com ... you can gave an opinion on minority issues without coming off as frothing racists.. some of the posts here seen to be pretending to come off as
    sarcastic, but in reality they are still distateful

  • nike shoes UK||

    is good

  • tory burch||

    He approaches the problem from a civil rights/downtrodden minorities angle.The only thing I wonder is if I (and/or the Republicans) started campaigning for such a law, would the democrats figure out that it wouldn't be good for their policies and start threatening the signature-takers? Or would it take until after said law is passed and then there are referendums to stop the public unions and switch to school vouchers etc.

  • HMFIC||

    JW has the ability to BS both sides and get paid in the process.

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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