Former U.S. Education Secretary William J. Bennett may take a big financial hit for his recent controversial remarks during his nationally syndicated radio talk show last Wednesday, RAW STORY has learned.
Philadelphia Daily News reported on Saturday that "Philadelphia parents and education activists are demanding that the city school district end the $3 million contract it awarded in April to K12 Inc." Bennett serves as the chairman on the Board of Directors for the Washington-based education company.
Bennett has been widely criticized for telling a caller, "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could - if that were your sole purpose - you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan revealed that "[t]he president believes the comments were not appropriate."
Excerpts from the registration-only Philadelphia Daily News story:
Though some of the Philadelphia school district's top science teachers raised concerns about K12's qualifications and experience, the district awarded the company the contract to supply kindergarten through third-grade science curriculum materials in April.
"I find it hard to see any explanation for why they're here in Philadelphia educating many of the black children Mr. Bennett clearly finds it provocative to call expendable," said Helen Gym, a mother of a district third-grader.
"I am very rarely struck speechless anymore. However, I could not get words out of my mouth this morning when I realized that my school district is somehow providing support to this company," said Ellayne Bender, mother of a district 11th-grader.
"On a moral level, as a human being," Bender added, "I would like to see the contract voided."
Last fall, Bennett publicly touted district schools CEO Paul Vallas as a good candidate to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education. Last night, however, Vallas stepped away from the man with whom he had been cordial.
"I read his comments, and his comments are outrageous and offensive to all of us," Vallas said of Bennett. "We do not have a relationship with Bill Bennett. Our contract is with K12, who are doing an excellent job in our schools. In my opinion, any extension of the contract could be jeopardized by his continued presence on the board."
The length of the contract was not immediately known.