Saving Education: The Real Choice We Have to Make
After March for our Lives, let’s talk about what is supposed to happen in schools: education.
Leonard Lance has voted to divert funding from public schools for charter schools and private school vouchers to promote “choice” in education. We all want better education for our kids, but the case to use taxpayer funds to send children to private schools is based on an expectation that the outcome will be positive, and the data do not support the case. Further, experience with charter schools in Michigan and Indiana led to an overall reduction in the quality of education. Secretary for Education, Betsy DeVos, presided over the Michigan debacle. No surprise, if you watched her hapless performance on “60 Minutes”. And the erstwhile Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, produced at best equivocal results in his home state while raising concerns about the separation of church and state.
Meanwhile, teachers in public schools are driven to desperate measures by State Houses “starving the beast,” producing a strike in West Virginia and threatened action in Oklahoma. Now we are talking of spending billions of dollars on arming teachers, or adding armed security officers which can only subtract from resources directed at the primary function of schools: education. Little wonder that teacher turnover is such an issue.
It is easy to drive a racial wedge into education. We have an overwhelmingly white boomer generation that votes, looking at a K-12 educational system that is now majority minority, and growing more so. When the young generation doesn’t look like the old generation, it becomes easier to go along with cuts labeled as essential for our fiscal well being at the state and local level. In New Jersey, the new “tax reform” and the upper limits on deductibility of state and local taxes will only put more downward pressure on school budgets. Remember, that “reform” was a massive wealth redistribution towards the haves.
Promoting “choice in education” is a false choice, based more on the tax cut mentality than educational achievement. The real choice for change comes at the ballot box. Remember in November!
Help us shine a light on Lance and the GOP's education record.