The Corner

Obama, Gates Work to Dissolve Suburban School Districts

AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing), President Obama’s most radical regulation, continues to go virtually unmentioned in the campaign. You might think a policy that allows big cities to swallow up and control surrounding suburbs would be widely debated and discussed, especially in an election where the suburbs hold the balance of power. Instead, both presidential candidates make a point of avoiding the issue.

Meanwhile, it’s become increasingly clear that AFFH is about a great deal more than housing. In truth, this sweepingly transformative regulation creates levers by which the feds can reach into almost every aspect of local government. In the latest development, AFFH has been revealed as a play to nullify the boundaries of suburban school districts. If President Obama and his allies have their way, the locally controlled suburban school will soon be a thing of the past.

In 2012, when I published Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, I predicted that Obama would use government funding as a lever to effectively dissolve suburban school districts, redistributing their revenues to nearby cities and forcing them to import students from outside the district. Now a “Dear Colleague” letter from three Obama cabinet secretaries makes it clear that AFFH is going to be used for precisely these purposes.

On top of that, a Gates Foundation-funded non-profit called Edbuild is working to forward the same goals, in part by advocating the “regional tax-base sharing” scheme I discussed in Spreading the Wealth. We’ve only recently been learning about the extraordinarily tight coordination between the Obama administration and the Gates Foundation on education policy. Gates is famous as the chief financial supporter of the Common Core, but few people realize that the Gates-Obama education agenda includes a death sentence for the locally-controlled suburban school district.

If you want to understand the Obama-Gates scheme for using AFFH to put an end to America’s suburban school districts, have a look at “Obama Administration Wants to Kiss Your Local Schools Goodbye,” by Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project. Robbins and McGroarty pull this transformative plan from obscurity and place it on the table for public debate, where it ought to be.

Don’t expect either party to address this issue. They are desperately trying to avoid it. But be assured that should Hillary Clinton become president, she will do everything in her power to advance Obama’s plan. Don’t be fooled by her play for the suburbs. The suburbs are in her crosshairs. As for Trump, he’s been silent on AFFH, so it’s anyone’s guess.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at


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