Bigot : a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.
It's interesting to me how all you hard-bitten conservatives (including Berkowitz, who has joined this conversation on his blog http://jeffberkowitz.blogspot.com/2009/10/sen-meeks-columnist-eric-zorn-and-tv.html ) turn into starry-eyed idealists when it comes to this pet notion of yours that education vouchers would provide better public education.
And you try to paint everyone who objects to these schemes as tools of the teacher's union or suffocating educational bureaucracy.
First objection I have -- I don't want tax dollars going to pay for tuition at schools that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. I'm a separationist. Yet I know that the animating passion for many believers in vouchers -- not Berkowitz, it's my sense, but many others -- is a desire to have the state fund the religious educations of their children. I think that's wrong. I think it's un-American and I think it's unconstitutional.
Second objection I have -- Assuming we have a voucher program that pays only for schools that don't discriminate and don't use voucher funds to teach religion (I can envision a system in which a Catholic School could hold special classes before and after school for Catholic students and paid for by private dollars), how do we keep any sort of quality control or set any kinds of standards without heavy government involvement? What if supporters of Fred Phelps, say, want to set up a Home School for Homosexual Haters in which the children of their hatemongering membership give their $15,000 a year to support some flimsy, phony 'academy" to inculcate the next generation of gay bashers? In this millions of flowers blooming utopia of private schools opening up in blighted neighborhoods, how do we account for parents who prefer indoctrination to education, not to mention the scam artists and hustlers and others who would eventually open "schools" to try to take their advantage.
Third objection I have, assuming we can set a system in which vouchers are only good at fully accredited, non-discriminating schools.... what makes us think that enough of them would spring up to offer something better than what's now there? Who takes the students who don't "qualify" once the private schools have skimmed the cream? Who takes the students who drop out? Who misbehave and get kicked out (for bringing Advil to class, say)? IN other words, if these schools are allowed to have admission standards, then who takes those who don't, for some reason, meet those standards? In other conversations I've raised the issue of special needs kids who can cost a lot more to educate than non-special needs kids. "They get bigger vouchers!" say the voucher proponents. This assumes a couple of things, the main one being that we're only talking about profoundly disabled children who need extraordinary care. But, in fact, the range of learning disabilities is vast and there are kids who look quite "normal" but who need speech therapy and, occupational therapy and all kinds of help that most private schools now outsource to public school if they take such children at all. Even mild learning and behavioral disorders are enough to keep applicants out of some private schools I could name.
Final objection I have, for now, is that the entire voucher solution assumes some sort of "magic" in private education that really is, in most cases, an illusion caused when a flexible administration, supportive, involved parents and empowered teachers combine to educate a SELECT group of students, any one of whom can be removed pronto if he or she proves to be a handful. You see this "magic" at certain public schools. And we're always going to have our NON-SELECT students and our disengaged parents....voucher programs would do little to aid such people as it destroyed and dismantled the public schools they now attend
posted by: Eric Zorn | Friday, October 30, 2009 at 04:42 PM
Now, if you told any the of the above to a deaf mule, he'd kick your teeth in!
Non Sequiturs Abounding! Bigotry Astounding! The reach-around for the Rev. Fred Phelps loonies was heart warmingly too, too daffy for ducks.
Smug bigots come in all sizes and shapes. Rev./Senator James Meeks has had the sacles fall from his eyes and anti-Voucher Bigots are snarling to gnaw on his bones.
Senator, their teeth are as weak as ther arguments.
“Although Chicago was spared the anti-Irish violence of other large American cities, there was no lack of rabid anti-Irish sentiment. The Chicago Tribune, edited by Joseph Medill (a descendant of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians), regularly dismissed the Irish as lazy and shiftless.
"Who does not know that the most depraved, debased, worthless and irredeemable drunkards and sots which curse the community are Irish Catholics?” the Tribune sneered.
Pretty nice homage to Joe Medill there Eric Zorn!