Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hacks, Get Out of the Way; Vouchers ARE Coming

I don’t think I have to restate here the evidence of the failures of our public school system. While it is true that an education system cannot deal with the disintegration of American society that is ongoing (again, ample evidence of this is all around us), it is also true that those low-income families that want a good education for their children have no place to go.

After pouring more and more money into public school systems for 40-50 years with only further deterioration taking place, it is clear to those not feeding off the system that more money is not the answer.

This explains the appeal of educational vouchers, which have three potential good outcomes: 1. a quality education for the child receiving the voucher, 2. the reform of the public school or public school system losing students to vouchers, or 3. the destruction of the public school system that refuses to reform.

If vouchers are such a good idea, why are the opponents so successful in stopping or sidetracking their implementation? The answer is easy. The same forces that sustain the present bloated and failing system, that is, the alliance of public-school teacher unions and the Democratic Party draw their support from secular-progressive voters who want to stamp out any and every aspect of religious thought from American schools and American society. Since the schools that offer quality education are usually private and run by religious groups, the left cries “separation of church and state”, and goes to court to kill the program.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in Florida and in Washington, D.C. In Florida, the voucher program instituted by former Governor Jeb Bush was declared unconstitutional, however an amendment to Florida’s constitution is on next fall’s ballot, and a temporary program supporters hope will skirt the question just passed Florida’s House yesterday.

School vouchers on ballot
If passed, tax panel's proposal would reinstate Jeb Bush program
April 26, 2008 Herald Tribune (Excerpt)

TALLAHASSEE — “In a move that will almost certainly revive legal battles over using taxpayer money for private schools, a commission voted Friday to give voters a choice to essentially reverse a 2006 Florida Supreme Court decision that found then-Gov. Jeb Bush's prized voucher program unconstitutional.”

House extends voucher plan to poor
April 28, 2008 Herald Tribune (Excerpt)

“The House just agreed to expand a scholarship program (HB 653) that gives vouchers to poor children to attend private or religious schools. Sponsor Rep. Trey Traviesa, R-Tampa, initially wanted to expand the program by about 5,000 students per year for the next five years, but controversy over the bill pushed the expansion to one year.

The program allows corporations to divert a portion of their taxes to the scholarship fund instead of giving to the state. The expansion would allow companies to divert an additional $30 million next year.

Advocates say it gives poor families the choice to attend other schools and saves the state money: it costs more to send a child to public school than to pay for a voucher.”

I’m not sure of the wording of the Florida constitution, but the “establishment” clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that government not support a ‘particular’ religion. All documents and meeting minutes arising out of the activities of our Founding Fathers clearly show that they wove their belief in God throughout public business, and the words, “Endowed by their Creator” are beyond argument. The granting of publicly-funded educational vouchers that can be used at any accredited school operated by ANY faith cannot be held unconstitutional. The motivation of the opponents of vouchers is clearly understood. It is to protect the failing public school system and suck more money from taxpayers.

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