Comparing the opponets of school choice to murderers and racisists never works.

People can passionately disagree about things but one
thing I have learned is you should never compare your opponent, the person with
the opposing view to Hitler. A close second would be to compare them to the
racist power structure that beat, oppressed and murdered people of color during
the civil rights movement, unfortunately that is what the reverend H.K. Mathews
does in the News-Press.com as he compares people who don’t support 
school vouchers to them.
Mathews is for school choice, though I think that is
just a code word for privatization. On the other side, or the ones that he is
comparing to Sherriff Jim Clark, Governor George Wallace and the Klu Klux Klan,
are the league of Women Voters, the Parent Teachers Association, The Teacher’s
Union, the School Board association, various other parent groups and ironically
the NAACP.    
Isn’t it possible that this debate as important as it
is, is little more than an earnest disagreement between people that both care
about the future of children? People that think vouchers should have minimum
qualification and accountability, people that lament the loss of resources to
public schools and people that want facts and evidence be the barometer we use
when making education policy are not seeking to disenfranchise the poor and
downtrodden, they are not seeking to limit empowerment. This may be a shocker
but they passionately care about the welfare and education of the state’s children
too.


As the various pro-school choice groups ratchet up the
inflammatory rhetoric they distract people from legitimate concerns and
questions.   
They say they are for the poor and
mostly minority students who have the least but then shrug their shoulders at
the massive cuts to Bright Futures which disproportionately effects poor and
mostly minority students the most. They say they are for accountability and
voucher students have to take a norm referenced tests, well if they are so
great why don’t we dump the high stakes testing agenda for public schools and
say they can take the same types of tests too? They say they save money while
at the same time districts lament the millions and millions of dollars.
They say they are just for poor
families but then ask you not to remember that the legislature just expanded
the eligibility for a family of four from making just over 20 thousand to
making just over sixty. Furthermore the supporters of vouchers usually are also
for S.T.E.M, Common Core and teacher accountability but shrug their shoulders
at those things for private schools that take vouchers where teachers do not
have to be certified nor curriculums recognized. Also private schools that take
less than a quarter of million dollars, the vast majority of them, don’t even
have to report how they spend the money and since over seventy percent of the
money goes to religious institutions we have effectively dismantled the first
amendment as well. Finally this program with the barest of oversight is allowed
to expand 25 percent a year, in less than five years it will take a billion
dollars annually out of the state coffers and our education system. Shouldn’t above
be enough to give us pause?
None of it though gets addressed by
voucher supporters. They are too busy calling their opponents heartless and
making unfair and ridiculous comparisons. We need to have an honest debate but in
my opinion one side isn’t interested and since that is the case it should tell
us all we really need to know.

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