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Weekly Alibi Children of the Damned

By Cap'n O

DECEMBER 1, 1997:  Gov. Gary Johnson's educational reform plan, complete with vouchers, yearly testing, charter schools and teacher evaluations has been before the public for a few weeks now. My reaction is utter disgust.

Every day I angrily ask: Why do the reactionaries, the knee-jerkers, the antihuman crowd, why do they want to wage war against the children? Is one side in this political battle so despicably amoral, so cowardly, so irrevocably evil that it will destroy the children?

The answer is a spirit-sundering yes. Sadly, one side on this issue has a shockingly brutal agenda: to keep our children uneducated and ignorant.

The antichild reactionaries I speak of are those who are lending their shrill voices and shallow scribblings to the battle against Johnson's proposal--so-called educators, teachers union officials, liberals, Democrats and editorial writers whose thought patterns indicate a need for a diaper change.

This might sound like breathless overstatement. But it's no different than hysterical allegations that are coming from Johnson's opponents. They're saying that his educational plan is immoral and that it will destroy public education.

If Johnson's opponents kill his plan, especially the voucher idea, they will deny thousands of kids the chance to get the best education possible. Often, the best education is found in private schools where strict disciplinary and educational standards are enforced. Vouchers would help pay for poor kids to go to private schools. I'm no ethicist, so I can't explain how it is morally correct to prevent poor kids from getting the best education possible. Maybe the Democrats and educators can.

For decades now, America's poor--mostly inner-city blacks--have been screaming that our public schools are a national disgrace. They've been begging for help, asking that their kids be protected from gangs on school grounds and that someone give a damn and provide the kids with a first-rate education. The response of the liberal, educational establishment? Programs that tout stupidity as an esteem builder, teachers unions that fight every attempt to increase educational standards and bureaucrats who care more about protecting their jobs than they do about teaching kids to read, write and think.

Test scores for public school students are down. Many public school systems are cesspools of violence and ignorance--total failures. But year after year the schools forcibly take our money and spend it on systems that don't work. Maybe editorial writers can explain the morality of that.

The moralists fret that vouchers will drain intelligent, well-behaved kids from the public schools and cause a collapse of public education. Sorry folks, that drain has been going on for decades. Many public school systems collapsed years ago. Parents with good incomes or those lucky enough to get financial help from relatives have been pulling their kids out of public schools in unprecedented numbers. Vouchers would give poor families the same option. By denying the poor vouchers, you'll be dooming their kids to school systems that are failures. Education has always been important but never more so than today. By relegating the poor to second-rate schools, you'll be dooming them to permanent poverty. Explain to us, Democrats and educators, how is that taking the moral high ground?

Johnson's plan calls for charter schools, teacher accountability and competition among schools. Outrageous, cry the educators and writers. These are the same people who want to force your kids to attend horrible schools.

Some of the more infantile writers think it's horrifying that there should be competition among schools. How dare the evil Johnson pit child against child, they squeak. Never mind that nearly every facet of life involves competition. We compete for lovers, jobs, incomes and readers. Competition is the essence of human existence. To succeed, you must be better than others. That's the way it will always be. But teaching that essential survival skill to kids would be immoral. Just ask the writers.

I'm not angry, though, at those who oppose Johnson's education plan. It's not their fault that they champion the cause of bad schools, bad teachers and students who are as dumb as rocks. As adults, we cling to values that we learned as children. And educators, Democrats and editorial writers have been taught to sanctify mediocrity and failure. We should pity them.

Because it's obvious that they went to public schools.

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