Thursday, January 1, 2009

Claiborne Pell, 1918-2009. R.I.P.

Claiborne Pell, a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island for nearly four decades, died on January 1st of Parkinson's Disease. He was 90 years old.

Pell is best known for helping low income individuals go to college in what became known as the Pell Grant. It was established in 1965 and continues to be a source of opportunity for people with modest incomes but high educational aspirations.

In last year's State of the Union, President Bush called on Congress to support the "Pell Grants for Kids" program which would give elementary and secondary school children from low income families who attend an underperforming school grants to attend an out of district school or a faith based school. However, the Democratic Congress has refused to support the program as they view it as a voucher program.

Well, if young adults can attend the college of their choice with the Pell Grant why can't low income families use Pell Grants to send children to the school of their choice?

You would think Democrats would be eager to honor the legacy of a man who did some good for people. Suffice it to say the incoming Obama Administration is cool to the idea of Pell Grants for Kids. After all teachers unions donate more money to Democrats than do low income families.

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