Crispus

Friday, June 18, 2004

School Choice: Moral Issue?

Blacks and Hispanics in Camden, New Jersey are fed up with their public schools. Yesterday religious and city leaders rallied on the steps of City Hall in support of school vouchers, saying it's the best option for their kids' future. The Black Ministers' Council of New Jersey head calls public schools a "fraud." The head of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders calls school choice a "moral issue" where blacks and Hispnics must unite.

School choice advocates say tax dollars should follow a child to the schools of their choice, not the school itself. They say school choice would drive reform in public education through competition. The Black Ministers' Council says what stands in their way are the Democrats, who have strong ties to teachers' unions. Advocates are right on all three counts.

Never mind a recent Newsweek poll which shows 66% of blacks and 67% of Hispanics support school vouchers. Booker Rising, a black moderate-conservative website, cites a statistic that 79% of blacks support school prayer. I don't believe in forced prayer, but I do believe in parents' right to have this educational option for their children. I'm not Muslim, but I have no problem with Mr. and Mrs. Mohammed using a voucher to send lil' Khalilah to a school that included Arabic language study and 5-times-a-day prayer. If there's not enough demand in one's hometown for a particular option, then move. While a Muslim school would have very low demand in Tupelo, Miss., it would be very popular in Detroit, Mich. Any schools that didn't meet standards wouldn't be in business for long. More innovative programs would emerge.

If left to parental choices, one would be hard-pressed to find a secular school in black communities. Schools would be tailored to our communities' needs and desires - black social gospel ethic, prayer, high discipline, a curriculum that included our achievements, high emphasis on how to take standardized tests - and not that of government. If the Congressional Black Caucus, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and teachers can send their own children to the schools of their choice, why deny Shaniqua Jackson the same right for her kid?

It is immoral for liberals to block these initiatives, as they recently did in D.C.'s pilot program (where there were twice as many applicants as slots). Yet it falls under liberals' general elitist rule: the masses are asses. Only we can decide what's best for you peons, not you.

14 Comments:

  • In my opinion compulsory education without school choice is a form of slavery. We force children to go to a particular building at a particular time, and sit and listen to a particular person telling them what to do. The only way to get out of bondage is to buy your freedom, if you can afford it. It is immoral, and should be illegal.

    Of course, like many immoral activities, it has serious negative consequences from a practical point of view too. For example, you cannot have a state education monopoly and still have separation of church and state. The national education system has created a state religion, one which advocates a broad religious agenda. What am I talking about, I hear you say. Let me ask you this: If the schools aren’t teaching religion, why is it that so many religious people are against it?

    David Boxenhorn

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