The school choice movement is a grassroots movement to secure an excellent education for every child. Securing the right to an opportunity for a great education is the civil rights struggle of our day.
Like any other citizens’ movement, the fight to improve education for South Carolina kids is producing its share of spokesmen and leaders. Instead of being appointed from on high, these voices emerge from the crowds who are no longer willing to accept decline of our schools, failure of our children, the relegation of another generation of children to poverty, prison, unemployment or despair. Enough, says the chorus of voices for school choice.
As in any choir, some voices are louder, clearer, purer. In South Carolina, no one has spoken out more eloquently for our children the Sun News columnist Issac Bailey. For one example among many, go here.
Bailey: Given that there are some schools in South Carolina in which as little as 8 percent of third-graders read or do math on level and have consistently high dropout rates, why shouldn’t we embrace school choice?
Johnson: One: That’s not necessary to get a good education.
Two: Many parents, especially the highest risk, lowest achieving pupils’ parents, wouldn’t know how to choose a better school wisely if they had the choice.
Three: The logistical problems and expenses required to achieve your idea of school choice would be far more trouble than it’s worth and directly siphon precious funds from the schools’ legitimate educational expenses.
Four: The people who would be put in charge of school choice in South Carolina would corrupt your good intentions to over-fund their favorite private or parochial schools based on favoritism or religious sectarianism, both of which are about as anti-education as you can get, regardless of those schools’ quality.
They would do that to “prove” to the public that public schooling – the only reliable vehicle for upward mobility in America for over 400 years – doesn’t work.
Even though Bailey could quite easily demolish these ramblings, he’s too much of a gentleman to do it. But I’m not.
Let’s translate Johnson’s spin into English, shall we? Here’s the plain English version of his four (4) points.
One: Education reform is hard and our children aren’t worth all that hard work.
Two: School Choice would work with smart parents but South Carolina parents aren’t smart, especially poor parents.
Three: Essentially a repeat of point one. Basically, because there are people who oppose doing the right thing for our children—letting their parents choose the right schools for them—we shouldn’t do the right thing.
Four: Sure our public schools aren’t working—and some just stink—but school choice would mean that religious fanatics would be in charge. After all, do you realize what sort of schools “those people” would send their children to? In order to keep out the crazies, we have to make sure that parents aren’t allowed to pick the best school for their child.
It’s breathtaking but it’s true. Check the translation against the original text to see if there are any errors.
What could more arrogant than someone who thinks that children should have to suffer so that he can save his favorite government program’s monopoly powers?