It may well be the “beginning of the end” for the liberal education monopoly. Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, a Democrat, is enthusiastically pressing forward with his advocacy of “school choice,” through a system of vouchers. Facing fierce opposition from what would traditionally be his voter base, Mayor Williams has recognized that the current system is simply broken, and nothing presently suggested by its advocates (certainly not the ever more outlandish sums of money continually being demanded) is going to fix it.
But unlike the members of the public education/Democrat political machine, Mayor Williams has a true regard for the supposed objects of the public education debate … the children. For far too long, big government liberals have gotten away with portraying themselves as having concern for the welfare of the children, when what they really seek is an ever-growing budget for the education bureaucracy. “The children” end up merely as fodder to be fed into the system in order to keep its engines running. Worst of all, the budgetary patterns of recent years have established a scheme that essentially guarantees continued academic failure, since the perpetually falling test scores of students provide the single biggest excuse for educrats to demand even more extravagant expenditures on schools than is already the case.
It is in this realm that a voucher program, if properly implemented, would yield a multitude of significant benefits. Taxpayers could conceivably save thousands of dollars per student, with no adverse effects on the quality of education received by the student. And it is also this aspect of the voucher movement that has the public education bureaucracy trembling in fear. For years, budgetary sessions of most state legislatures have been mired down by demands for greater educational funding. It is always presumed that better academic performance from students will magically follow. But the consistent result is merely fancier facilities, more administrators, and a further decline in standardized test scores. So the vicious cycle continues.
However, this scenario isn’t good enough for Mayor Williams. Citing the inherent competition that results from parents having a choice as to where to send their children to school, Williams stated that the end result of a voucher program would be no less than a revitalization of the District’s middle class. The Mayer has seen the pattern of recent years, and he isn’t willing to sit quietly by while it continues. And though he hasn’t stressed the cost savings aspect of voucher programs, he has made it clear that he wants better education, not simply more expensive education, for the city’s young people.
In an opposing statement that must ring hollow, even among those who claim philosophical alignment with it, Linda Moody, president of the D.C. Congress of Parents and Teachers, insists that “D.C. public schools can provide the services that we need.” It is noteworthy here that she didn’t claim they presently do provide those services, but that they potentially “can.” In other words, after certain things are “fixed” in the D.C. public schools, they could be expected to perform. And, no doubt, the required “fix” means only one thing… more money.
Among Mayor Williams’ biggest supporters is Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, who has seen his own city’s voucher program grow exponentially in the past few years. Norquist asserts that not only have students benefited from access to private and parochial schools, but, as a result of competition, the public schools have improved as well.
Unfortunately, throughout much of the rest of the country, the liberal education bureaucracy continues to forcefully dominate any discussion of much-needed academic reform. In Nevada, this takes the form of a billion dollar tax increase, which is being enacted through collusion of the Governor and the state Supreme Court, and in direct defiance of a voter referendum outlawing such action.
In California, mandated graduation proficiency assessment testing is being delayed for at least another two years, at the behest of the education establishment who claim that the system isn’t presently ready to fulfill such a requirement. In other words, the educrats are demanding that, for the next two years, students should be given diplomas regardless of their inability to fulfill minimum requirements for graduation.
No doubt, during the next two years, budgets will continue to mushroom, staffing will increase, and the ruse that is public education will continue to flounder just as it has for the past several decades. But that’s fine because it’s for the children.
”’Christopher G. Adamo was born in Cheyenne Wyoming, but has lived in several places, ranging from the East Coast to the West Coast, before settling back in southeastern Wyoming to raise his family. He has held an interest in politics for many years and has worked within the Wyoming GOP as well as the Wyoming Christian Coalition. His archives can be found at:”’ http://www.ConservativeTruth.org