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Our Position on School Choice
Now that the election is over, and the good guy -- no, great guy -- has prevailed, itís high time to start posting up position papers. This one is on school choice, meaning governmental vouchers to pay part or all of a studentís private school tuition, allowing the studentís parents to choose the best possible school for their children.
This is a no-brainer. We support school choice 100%, hands down. Public education, especially in the inner city, sucks. The quality of education has not increased, even with the No Child Left Behind Act. How did the crummy schools respond to NCLB act? Every single kid who did not do well was routed into special education. IDEA-funded special-ed programs are bursting at the seams everywhere. Is a kid having trouble paying attention in class? ADHD! Special Ed Services! A kid is obstinate and refuses to do work? Oppositional Defiant Disorder! Special Ed Services! Now those kids are not counted in the NCLB general totals, and public schools show an illusory gain in effectiveness. This is not lost on the parents.
School Choice solves these problems. Private and Parochial schools seem to have a "way" with wayward kids. As a product of the Chicago Catholic School system, I can testify that Sister Mary Whackknuckles and Father Paddleass had a way of bringing me right into line. I can read, I can write, I can add and more. In my junior year of high school at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago (the Greatest High School Ever), Mr. Nick Iosue sat with me for hours after school for weeks working with me on trigonometry when I had trouble executing some concepts. GoD rest his soul (he unfortunately passed on in 1994), he helped me greatly. This kind of extra effort is commonplace.
Mount Carmel is a shining example of an outstanding high school. The teachers are highly dedicated to a one, the students excel in every part of academics and life, and they even have a program, McDermott-Doyle, that helps students with special needs. School Choice would allow families, especially those in the Woodlawn area of Chicago where Mt. Carmel still resides (and is expanding) to afford tuition to a superior school.
The counter-argument is School Choice = Less money for public schools. True, assuming that the voucher program is apportioned out of the education taxes now there, but it also means less students. The leftists cannot stomach the idea of public funds possibly going to educate a kid in a school where they may learn morality, or ick-poo, religion. Moreover, the Democrats are beholden to the NEA and other public school-related labor unions, and cannot support something that may mean that a core constituency will get let off the federal gravy train.
But this is about the future of the Republic. We cannot give our kids a subpar education and remain a world leader. The Democrats essentially think this country to be evil, and the leftists who generally run public education in the big cities use these schools as left-wing indoctrination camps. They want to preserve the indoctrination, to hell with the future. Parents, however, especially parents in minority and poorer households, care nothing about the public policy concerns of the left wing when compared to their kids. The party that is "pro choice" when it comes to abortion is patently anti-choice when it comes to schooling, for multiple reasons.
Our position is that school choice is a fundamental right, in order to empower parents to direct their kidsí education in the way that gives those kids the best chance for success. Our position is that to deprive school choice via vouchers or whatever mechanism can be enacted is racist and oligarghic. The elite leftists who hate school choice are generally far richer than the norm and send their kids to private schools. See Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, etc.
We support a schooling voucher of sufficient size that the private schools who take them can fund 80-100% of school tuition with them. We support these vouchers from K through 12, and would consider voichers through a bachelorís degree that would put private universitiesí effective tuition on a level with state-run universities.