GOP senator foresees 'bailout riots,' and says DC students 'end up' in gangs
Rachel Oswald
Published: Friday March 6, 2009

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Days after he predicted there would be rioting from a public angry with all of the federal bailouts, Republican Senator Jim DeMint made another judgmentally-questionable statement --that students at D.C. public schools have a higher likelihood of joining gangs than of graudating from high school.

In comments made at a Republican news conference on the need to save the district's federal school voucher program, DeMint said, "If you send a kid to [public] school in D.C., chances are that they will end up in a gang rather than graduating," according to an article in The Washington Times.

The Times noted that the graduation rate for D.C. Public Schools was close to 70 percent last year, which puts it in line with the national average.

DeMint's own state of South Carolina however has a much lower graduation rate - 56 percent, which is the fourth lowest rate of any state in the country, according to a 2008 article by South Carolina newspaper, The Post and Courier.

Responding to DeMint's comment a blogger called 'The New Teacher on the Block' wrote in a posting that can be read here, "You Sir, Are an Ignorant Ass."

The senator's controversial remarks about D.C. city schools are only the latest in a string of choice statements. In a Monday interview with the conservative blog Net Right Nation, DeMint challenged the conservative credentials of the majority of his Republican Senate colleagues.

"There are only 15 real conservatives in the Senate," DeMint said. "If the GOP wants to have success in the future, they must return to their roots. While there may be those that say we need to be more moderate, freedom works for everyone and we should not concede that battle."

Asked if his views of a month ago that there would be riots in the streets as a result of the multiple federal bailouts and rescued packages to troubled industries and to the economy as a whole, DeMint told Net Right Nation interviewer Adam Bitely, "I still believe that there could be riots. Most will be small, but I think there is a chance that we can see some large ones."

DeMint's comments on D.C. public schools were quickly jumped on by the D.C. City Council.

"He has no sense of what D.C. has to offer making statements like that," said council member Yvette Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat to The Times. "No one knows the District of Columbia better than the people who are residents of the District of Columbia. If someone outside of it is to make a gross misjudgment like that one, he should keep his comments to himself."

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