The Premise: Leftist Politicians want to improve the quality of public schools in our inner cities and reduce the scoring disparities between minorities and white students.
Contradiction: The very same cities governed by these Leftist Politicians for decades have seen little to no improvement in reading scores and disparity between minorities and white students.
Time to Check the Premise!
Before proceeding, I think it is important to note that there is a difference between Leftist Politicians who control the Democratic Party, and many voters who identify as democrats. I believe the premise to improve our education system is accurate for most voters across the country whether democrat, independent, libertarian or republican. The problem is that many of us have been duped into believing that our leaders share this premise. I no longer believe that these politicians truly share that premise. The public schools’ failing results may be the desired outcome of these leaders. Hence, by changing the premise to: Leftist Politicians want to maintain a large government controlled public education system with no parent involvement; we discover that there is no longer a contradiction.
Debunking the Premise
As we look to the future of our country and whether we will continue to be a prosperous nation, the central determining factor will be the education of our children. Future generations will either succeed or fail based on the strength and integrity of the system we leave behind. For decades we have listened to politicians of all political leanings claim to have the best interests of our children in mind as they spend tax dollars on various government programs to “improve” education. The focus of these politicians has been a top-down approach spending more and more dollars on programs that have had little effect on reading scores or racial disparities, while simultaneously disempowering parents.
Minorities continue to fall well behind white children in public schools in cities that have been governed by leftist authoritarian politicians for decades. These are the same politicians that cry racist as they point at their more conservative free choice opponents. But, while they scream racism, poor minority groups in our inner cities see no improvement, leaving them perpetually dependent on government programs. The numbers are staggering, but I will only touch on a few as this article is intended to stimulate discussion and, hopefully, a movement to empower families, not politicians.
In 2019, The Nation’s Report Card as reported by National Center for Education Statistics showed that Black students had an average score that was 40 points lower in reading than for White students in Chicago. Hispanics were 32 points lower. Likewise in New York City, Black students score 23 points lower as did Hispanics. On top of these dismal statistics, White students were not knocking their reading scores out of the ballpark. Scores in general are poor making the road out of poverty extremely difficult.
If the alleged premise of these mayors, school boards, unions and governors is to improve education for all our inner-city students; and, to achieve closer parity in scores between minorities and white students, then why do these very same leaders oppose programs that seek to empower parents to have greater control over their children’s education? After all, it is the parent’s tax dollars that support these schools. Clearly the political leaders’ solutions have not worked, so why oppose greater school choice?
For years I always thought that school choice programs (vouchers, tax credits and scholarship programs) should be an issue supported by Democrats. Providing a voucher or a scholarship to an inner-city family to be used to send their child to a school of their choosing, pubic, charter or parochial, should be a liberal idea. Doesn’t the Democratic Party hold itself out as the champion of the poor and downtrodden?
In truth, I believe that most democrats, independents, libertarians and republicans share the same goal to improve our children’s education. However, we have been duped by the leftist leaders that seek to maintain and grow their power through larger government programs. These leaders’ true goal may be more pernicious.
I only realized recently that I had to check my premise to understand this clear contradiction. Perhaps these leaders’ primary goal with public education was not to improve the quality of the children’s education and lift these children out of poverty, but to continue to control them, their parents and the system. If we succeed in dramatically improving our education system and producing well-educated children, some government programs may actually need to be trimmed – political power diminished.
By truly improving our education system, we will provide independence for new generations of children. A well-educated child will have greater job opportunities. He or she will be able to make their own way in this world and will no longer be dependent on government. Freeing themselves from the shackles of government dependency (today’s political slavery), will allow them greater financial opportunities, liberty and, most importantly, a vote that is unpredictable. A vote that must be earned!
This article is intended as an introduction to school choice programs which come in many forms. The central idea of school choice is to provide a financially disadvantaged parent with greater educational options for their children. It encourages greater parent involvement in these decisions, not less. Leftist leaders clearly do not want greater parental involvement, as the curtain of this malevolent deception is being lifted across the country.
Wealthy people, including those very same politicians that oppose school choice, already have the benefit of school choice either by sending their children to private schools or moving into wealthy suburbs with stronger school districts.
Although I support school choice programs, I also realize that it is not a panacea to all the problems and inadequacies in our failing education system. Rather, it is one option designed to move the needle in a more positive direction. Greater parental involvement in selecting the school best for their child will also encourage greater parental involvement in their education at home. As we all know, education doesn’t stop when a child leaves school, it continues at home.
In Part 2, we will address the many arguments raised by the left against school choice. Most of these arguments have little merit or are red herrings that are easily debunked. Additionally, we will look at the issue of allowing parents to use vouchers, tax credits or scholarship programs to attend parochial schools and how the Supreme Court is likely to address this issue next year.