This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, January 18, 2002 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.
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HANNITY: As we continue on HANNITY & COLMES, we're going to show you a whole segment of what we did four years ago. I looked a little younger then, Alan a little bit grayer.
COLMES: I have aged you a little bit.
HANNITY: I think you've aged me and you got all my color.
But, first, a number of African-American parents are saying that vouchers are the only way to get their children into better schools. Are minorities supporting school vouchers more than we think?
We are joined by Kaleem Caire, who is the president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Are vouchers a good idea?
KALEEM CAIRE, BLACK ALLIANCE FOR EDUCATIONAL OPTIONS: We believe so.
HANNITY: Why are African-Americans that support vouchers -- in other words that see, especially in inner cities all across this country, that the educational students (sic) is failing significant numbers of minority children -- why, if you're an African-American and you support a change to institutionalized failure are you under fire? I don't get it.
CAIRE: Well, part of the reason why we're under fire -- I'll tell you part of the reason why we're under fire and then I'll tell you why people are supporting school vouchers. We're under fire basically because they we don't believe the current existing logic that runs through traditional black leadership, traditional liberal education circles that says that public schools are the only way that our children can be successful.
We recently conducted a study, that even the National Center for Education Statistics hasn't argued against, that found that, nationwide, only 56 percent of black children actually receive a high school diploma. We also found, in places where we have voucher programs like Cleveland, that only 29 percent of black children receive a high school diploma. And out of that, we have a pretty good understanding that we'll probably get three out of 100 kids...
HANNITY: Well, let me ask you this question, then, because, if you look at voting trends in the country, you see a large percentage of the African-American community votes for the Democratic party. It's people in the Democratic Party and on the left that have maintained, at best, this institutionalized mediocrity. I say it worse, institutionalized failure.
Why aren't more African-Americans, then, making the switch to a party that is saying: "We want to help you get out of this bad situation"? Why aren't they switching?
CAIRE: Well, first let me say this as a Democrat who thinks that my party is completely wrong on this issue. There are many other issues that African-Americans hold dear that, depending on the Republican circles -- let's lose the tags -- depending on the circles, there are some places where African-Americans will get core support for their issues. There are others that we won't.
And so I think that it's more of a fear of what the Republican Party or even other independent parties or other parties don't necessarily vocally represent.
COLMES: Mr. Caire, it's interesting. You say you're a Democrat. You have been criticized by other Democrats and other African-Americans who say that you're taking money from a number of foundations that mostly give to conservative causes. But, on this issue, they give to you. But they've done a lot in these conservative arenas that some would say have not been favorable to the well-being of the African-American community.
How do you respond to that? You've heard those criticisms. How do you respond to that?
CAIRE: Yes, we've heard the criticisms.
Actually, we don't respond, because our simple response is, is that we're trying to do this for our young people. We've got to save them whatever way we can. And if we're ever going to realize the goal of our children really, truly participating in the American democracy in the way that our grandparents wish they would, then we've got to stop that madness and we have to do what we can to develop schools for our children.
COLMES: Well, that sounds like great rhetoric, but you know as well as I do that the public school system serves the most amount of people. Private school only accept -- and they can reject you. Not everybody can get in. You have to have resources to get in. You have to be able to pass tests to get in.
The neediest of the neediest still go to public schools. And they are ignored, as taxpayer dollars get sucked out of the public system to help a private voucher system that don't help those who need it the most.
CAIRE: Actually, these programs are designed -- the program -- see, you're talking about voucher programs that exist in theory only. The voucher programs that we actually have in America are designed to serve the neediest children.
And, so, on that point, I disagree with you. And also the fact that you even make that statement -- why not have more voucher programs, then?
COLMES: Why not have more money for the public school system to help the most amount of kids and put the resources where everybody can benefit?
CAIRE: Let me tell you, I did 34 years -- I studied 34 years of educational history in Wisconsin, where we have the nation's largest voucher program in Milwaukee. I can tell you that, in that time period,
there was over $1 billion that was spent on school integration in that state. It was free money to school districts to just take black children. There were no educational benefits attached. And people said: Just stick with it. Things will get better.
And I can tell you that the failure rate in Wisconsin among African-American and Latino children is the worst in the country.
HANNITY: Mr. Caire, thank you. We're out of time. I wish you the best. And you'll be a Republican, I hope, in a couple of years.
HANNITY: Thanks for being us.
CAIRE: Thank you very much.
HANNITY: All right, so what did HANNITY & COLMES look like four years ago when the Monica Lewinsky scandal just broke? We're going to show you a whole block of that show. That is all coming up. Also remember, you can log on to FoxNews.com and you can become a Fox Fan.
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