Speak up on D.C. schools, Mr. President

“No one in Washington has more political capital than Barack Obama,” says Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, a Washington D.C., nonprofit that advocates for changes in public K-12 education. “All he has to do is to say two simple sentences. First, ‘I support anyone who gives D.C. parents more options and more accountability.’ Second, ‘We need to keep D.C. on the path of reform with a schools chancellor like Michelle Rhee.'”…

Surely the wind is at his back. In the past, Mr. Obama has himself spoken honestly about the obstacles to reform, including the close relationship between the teachers unions and his party. This past weekend, Mr. Chavous, now head of the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunity, published an open letter in the New York Times saying it’s time for the president to walk the walk. Along with the recent release of “Waiting for ‘Superman,'” Davis Guggenheim’s superb new film on the children robbed of their dreams by the failing public school system, it all adds to the sense that the moment for Mr. Obama to make himself heard is now.

“All presidents have the bully pulpit,” says Mr. Chavous. “This president in particular has the power to change hearts and minds instantly.”

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