What if you could only afford to send your child to a “free” government-run school? What if that government-run school did not help your child? What would you do if you got an education voucher that allowed you to send your child to a school you chose, and that school did work? Would you scream for joy and bless the people who allowed you that choice?
What if suddenly someone insisted on taking that choice away? Perhaps that dilemma explains why some folks in Washington DC are desperate to save a program that is actually working for their children.
Check out www.saveschoolchoice.com. We have in nearby Washington DC the strange example of a government program being terminated even though it was working! What was the program’s failing? With respect to some critics, that seems to be a mystery. See this report in here at The Heritage Foundation.
Is there something wrong with giving parents a choice? Perhaps to some politicians there is a problem. The Washington Times included the following in its article on the subject today.
“The president doesn’t believe that vouchers are a long-term answer to our educational problems and the challenges that face our public school system, where the vast majority of students are educated in this country,” White Housespokesman Robert Gibbs said in March.
D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has made similar remarks, once saying that vouchers won’t solve all the problems faced by public schools but that parents with children in the bleakest schools should have options.
Ms. Rhee’s position is about where the Democrats’ fissure begins.
Voucher supporters speak often of students and their families while acknowledging troubled school systems. Mr. Chavous and Mr. Williams said earlier this year in an Op-Ed column in The Washington Post that youths must be educated “by any means necessary.” At a rally at the start of this year, the two former Democratic rivals joined Mr. Barry in a rally for vouchers outside the U.S. Department of Education.
“Too many parents are stuck … and have no choice,” Mr. Barry said. “I had a choice, because we had the money to send [my son] to a private school. Too many parents don’t have those options, and I believe very strongly we are to support this program.”
Part of the Democrats’ voucher debate among themselves stems from the fact that unions are long-standing political partners of the party. The two largest teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, and the major labor coalition, AFL-CIO, support school reform and oppose using public dollars for vouchers.
“Vouchers are not real education reform. … Opposition to vouchers is a top priority for NEA,” the union told congressional Democrats in March. (from here)
Is education about what is best for children or labor unions? What do you think?