By Charles A. Byrne
The Education Information Center - a consortium of 13 organizations representing public funded education in Ohio - in a recently released booklet by its director John Stanford, concludes (surprise, surprise) that “choice” for students in Ohio be confined to public funded schools only.
Though Stanford cites the pros and cons of vouchers, community schools, open enrollment and home schooling, his insistence on the exclusivity of public funded schools to educate children is inherently flawed. I use the term “public funded” in describing these schools, because ALL schools serve the public. Most are public funded, but the 100's that are not public funded per se, certainly serve the public as well. There are public funded and privately funded schools in the country.
Stanford ignores the appalling truth that public funded systems exist to serve the upper middle class, not very well the poorer classes. Those able to afford “Choice” with a move to a better performing district, and who have the income to write off horne loan interest and taxes don't mind keeping their “exclusivity” to their liking if it keeps out the “riff-raff”! THESE are those well served with the school system we have!
Those confined to less productive systems by virtue of their income, are victims of an overall system that alleges to serve all equally, but in practice, is a total fraud. The 13 education establishment exuberants funding Dr. Stanford continue to wrap themselves in the flag, excoriating anyone who questions their agenda. They continue to propound principles rarely observed - equal educational opportunity profoundly among them - and thwart choice options, that in the slightest measure, threaten their comfortable clandestine lifestyle (retirement and benefits are superb).
Stanford takes issue with the testing results for voucher and community schools over this short period of time. Contrary to allegations, voucher students have NOT been the “cream of the crop”, but rather students the public funded system has given up on! A long term evaluation of 150 years may be a better test, and those are faith-based schools. Roman Catholic with the largest numbers, and their track record is exemplary! As Hope School at East 55 and Broadway Principal for 2000/01 Lydia Harris says, “We make our own cream!”
Those concerned with an Increasingly politically correct and hedonistic curricula of the public funded schools - the three R's of ritalin, remediation and rubbers, all without the fourth R of responsibility - may choose faith-based or independent schools at great personal cost.
Many, unhappy with their school choices, lack of discipline and watered-down offerings, have contributed to great growth of home schooling, in America.
WHEN will hard working parents enjoy the fruits of using their “education entitlement dollars” -NOT “government money” the educrats speak, where they wish to educate their children. Judge James Ryan of the Sixth Circuit Court in an appeal for the Cleveland Scholarship Program refers to parents' tax contributions that they should be “utilized with their full consent”' Welfare and food stamp clients are NOT restricted to WHERE they spend these benefits. If a case gets to the U.S. Supreme Court, I believe they will rule on the side of parents, NOT for the single State system we have!
The semi-monopoly grip of some $500 billion dollars we spend in America for K-12 public funded education, is staggering, and yet millions are ill-served.
The issue cries out for JUSTICE for those denied “choice” in education. Former Russian captive nations have a measure of choice far beyond what we have. What will it take to change the enslavement we call “public education” in America??? DE-REGULATION, of course!