Another candidate for the title of this post was, “What does Jim Rex have against Christians?”
The point, of course, is not to slander a man whom I don’t know. (And even without knowing him, I’d bet money that he’s Christian, his family’s Christian, and in his heart he’s not an anti-Christian.) The point of the titling of this post is to highlight the arbitrary, capricious, and frankly discriminatory nature of the plan that Jim Rex and his acolytes are trying to impose on South Carolina.
Rex deserves to be commended for acknowledging—as his predecessor refused to—that the 195,000 students who are trapped in 385 failing public schools statewide deserve to have the opportunity to get into schools that aren’t failing. How do we secure that opportunity? Two words: Parental choice.
No part of our education system should resemble holding pens where children are kept until they can be shipped off to actual prisons. Visiting such injustice upon generations of children is one of the greatest ongoing travesties in our state.
Rex knows kids need to be able to get into the best schools available. Why, then, does his plan systematically exclude Christian schools, independent secular schools, and home schooling?
It can’t possibly be because it’s unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has said it isn’t. (The “true private choice” of parental vouchers is wholly unrelated to the Constitution’s prohibition of state “establishment of religion.”)
It can’t be because it costs too much money because we know that school choice saves public funds by reducing public liability—even as it expands options and opportunities for parents and kids.
As Americans, the best parts of our tradition are inclusion, expansion of opportunities, and fair competition on the merits.
But for no logical reason, Jim Rex’s plan arbitrarily excludes Christian schools, independent schools, and home-schooling from the menu of choices available to parents. Since there is no logical reason, we can only look to the ugly realm of “political logic.” Jim Rex is afraid of the unions. He’s afraid to break ranks with the Big Government fundamentalists in his party. Their pro-Monopoly ideology, in turn, is fueled by the big money contributions of administrators, bureaucrats, unions, and well-connected contractors.
Rex is going to have to choose: Love or Fear. Which is greater? His love of children or his fear of the status quo stakeholders?
Compare Jim Rex’s plan to a plan for real school choice. The latter plan includes measures to help parents who choose alternate public schools AND those who choose independent schools, Christian schools, and home schooling.
So what’s it going to be, Mr. Rex: Inclusion or Discrimination?
Parents around the state are dying to know—and the future of over 195,000 children depends on it.