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Posts Tagged ‘National Education Association’

There are a handful of issues that expose hypocrites on both sides of the philosophical spectrum. Republicans and conservatives love to talk about free markets, for instance, but you often find them voting for completely sleazy and corrupt forms of corporate welfare such as the ethanol subsidy for big agri-business. For Democrats and leftists, a powerful example is education. They claim to want to help the poor, especially minorities, yet all too often they cast aside those people and instead side with the teacher unions by opposing school choice. So kudos to the Philadelphia branch of the ADL, as well as a local Democratic politician, for doing the right thing and putting kids before special interests. Jeff Jacoby explains in his Boston Globe column:

Three months ago, the executive committee of ADL’s Philadelphia chapter voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution endorsing vouchers. Now it is urging the entire organization to follow suit.”We believe school choice to be an urgent civil rights issue,’’ the committee argued in a brief being circulated among ADL’s 30 regional offices. Despite decades of increased spending on K-12 education, “the evidence that our public education system is failing to educate our children is staggering.’’ ADL should reverse its longtime position “as a moral imperative,’’ the Philadelphia leadership urges, and “issue a resolution in favor of school choice.’’As it happens, the ADL regional board isn’t the only liberal voice in Philadelphia calling for expanded school choice. State Senator Anthony Williams, a black Democrat and a candidate in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial primary this week, is the founder of a charter school, a champion of vouchers, and an ardent believer in the power of competition to improve the quality of education. His position puts him sharply at odds with the state’s largest teachers’ union, which opposes choice and has endorsed his main opponent. But Williams — like the local ADL leadership — sees school choice as the great civil rights battle of the day.”Anybody who was for Brown v. Board of Education — it baffles me that they would be against vouchers,’’ he told me last week.

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Here’s a great video, put together by my Cato colleagues, exposing the real cost of government-run school systems.

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The healthcare fight in Washington is not about access to doctors and hospitals, or the cost of those services. It is an effort by the left to create more dependency on government. George Will examines this theme in a Washington Post column:

Killing this small program, which currently benefits 1,300 mostly poor and minority children, is odious and indicative. It is a small piece of something large — the Democrats’ dependency agenda, which aims to multiply the ways Americans are dependent on government. Democrats, in their canine devotion to teachers unions, oppose empowering poor children to escape dependency on even terrible government schools. …For congressional Democrats, however, expanding dependency on government is an end in itself. They began the Obama administration by expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. It was created for children of the working poor but the expansion made millions of middle-class children eligible — some in households earning $125,000. The aim was to swell the number of people who grow up assuming that dependency on government health care is normal. …Democrats’ “reforms” of the financial sector may aim to reduce financial institutions to dependent appendages of the government. By reducing banks to public utilities, credit, which is the lifeblood of capitalism, could be priced and allocated by government. …Many Democrats, opposing the Supreme Court, advocate new campaign finance “reforms” that will further empower government to regulate the quantity, timing and content of speech about government. Otherwise voters will hear more such speech than government considers good for them.

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Few things nauseate me more than leftists who send their kids to private schools while at the same time fighting against school choice for poor kids. There is no explanation for this hypocrisy beyond a selfish political desire to act as lapdogs for the teacher unions. It’s ironic that George Wallace and the segregationists stood in the schoolhouse door 40-plus years ago to lock black children out and now Democratic politicians are standing in the schoolhouse doore to lock them in. The Wall Street Journal opines:

Democrats in Congress voted to kill the District’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides 1,700 disadvantaged kids with vouchers worth up to $7,500 per year to attend a private school. …The program’s popularity has generated long waiting lists. A federal evaluation earlier this year said the mostly black and Hispanic participants are making significant academic gains and narrowing the achievement gap. But for the teachers unions, this just can’t happen. The National Education Association instructed Democratic lawmakers to kill it. “Opposition to vouchers is a top priority for NEA,” declared the union in a letter sent to every Democrat in the House and Senate in March. …Senator Dick Durbin, who heads the subcommittee that oversees funding, has been saying for the better part of a year that he’s open to supporting the program’s continuation if certain conditions were met. In retrospect, this looks like bad faith. Earlier this year, Mr. Durbin said the local D.C. Council needed to sign off on the program before Congress could reauthorize it. The council did exactly that, sending Congress a letter expressing solid support for the scholarships. Senator Durbin then said he wants participating schools to administer the same exams to voucher students that D.C. public school students take. Done, said proponents. The program’s supporters now feel they’ve been had. “Durbin has engaged in that classic game of moving the goal posts,” says Kevin Chavous, a former D.C. council member and one of many local Democratic leaders who back school vouchers. “He’s just been less than honest. He’s made promises to colleagues and school leaders—like Michelle Rhee, our schools Chancellor—saying, ‘All I need is this.’ But the reality is that they’ve been finding reasons not to support the program.” The voucher program is closed to new students. “It’s duplicitous and shameful,” says Mr. Chavous. Strong language. But if you’re a kid in D.C. trying to escape its awful schools, maybe not strong enough.

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