Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Asinine Pot. News Letterwriter

It seems that the pro-government school monopolists have little but hate and misrepresentation to offer in response to any proposal to free children and their parents from the propagandization of government schools.

The latest example appeared in today's Potomac News, where Tony Ares of Woodbridge responded to a column by Jim Simpson advocating vouchers (I apologize, but the sorry Pot. News doesn't have a link to today's letters). It seems that, according to Ares, "Conservatives love to mask their real reason for supporting a voucher program." Why do we --- I consider myself a conservative, notwithstanding efforts of some to water-down the "name brand" --- "love the idea of vouchers"?

According to Ares, the "real reason" is a "thinly veiled excuse to reinstate Jim Crow," to "indoctrinate [our] children with old bigotry."

Wow! That would certainly come as news to my children, who have attended two affirmatively Christian private schools where a large minority, if not majority, of children are of different races. It wasn't intentional; Mrs. Young and I didn't care about the racial makeup of the schools, though I suppose we might have had they been entirely of one race or another. Our only concern was that they get a quality, values-based education, and that they were indoctrinated with the pro-government propaganda and the "latest thing" directed by the National Education Association.

And it would certainly come as a surprise to their godfather, whom they affectionately refer to as "Uncle" Rossie, who is, in the words of Ares, a "black [or] brown" person with whom they "deal" regularly.

Of course, what my children don't get at their Christian, private schools, is government indoctrination, and experimentation with the latest educational fad. They don't have to wonder to whom, at Thanksgiving, we are giving "thanks." They aren't subjected to history lessons where the Christian roots of the American experiment are ignored in favor of "grievance" history.

They are, however, educated at probably less than half the cost of a Prince William County government school, where our tax dollars are subsidizing an over-bureaucratized system.

The last pro-"Jim Crow" private school in Virginia of which I am aware was the Prince Edward Academy, founded in 1959 to educate white children in Prince Edward County and the surrounding area when the local fathers, in response to forced desegregation, closed the local public schools for four years rather than integrate them.

However, even that vestige of Jim Crow went the way of Jim Crow laws in 1993, when it became the Fuqua School, with an endowment from J. B. Fuqua, who had grown up in the area and became a world-renowned businessman and philanthropist in Atlanta.

If somebody sees or knows Tony Ares, you really should welcome him to the 21st Century. Jim Crow is long dead and buried. School choice is not now, nor has it ever been, about oppression. It's about freedom for parents and their children. And while there might be a few who would abuse school vouchers and tax credits for the purposes identified by him, the vast majority of advocates for school choice have no interest in the vile and despicable motives attributed to them by Ares. Indeed, the only vile and despicable motives truly discernable in this dispute are those of Ares, demonstrated by his naked race-baiting.

'Course, I suspect that it's intentional. After all, some of the most articulate and passionate advocates for school choice are black Americans. And the far Left has much to fear when the demographic contingent most loyal to the Democrat Party gets off the Liberal "plantation."


Virginia Centrist said...

Hmmm. I support some limited charter school programs in failing school districts. Certainly not in Fairfax or Arlington...and studies have been mixed.

However, I too wonder about the true reasoning for these programs. The racism argument is a bit old - I can see that being legit in the 70s when racist white inner city parents were forced to either send their kids to private schools or send them to increasingly black public schools. But now-a-days I don't think that's the underlying rationale.

For many people, the rationale is to improve schools and provide a product that is better than perpetually failing inner city schools.

But for others, the motive is just to destroy what they see as secular liberal public schools.

Willis said...

More indoctrination goes on at your christian schools, fpm Young, than coyuld ever go on at any public school.

You don't mind that, of course, because they indoctrinate how YOU like it.

OTBL said...

Often I have seen it argued by those who are employed by the government education system (and to the purely ignorant) that those of us who are critical of the system should simply exercise choice and pick a charter school or a private school. Choice, they say, is readily apparent and they don't understand when people continuously argue for choice in education. So, for clarity I would once and for all like to set the record straight.

The fact of the matter is that in Wisconsin we have choices but we do not have real choice? While that may sound a bit convoluted, it is nevertheless true -let me explain. As a parent I can exercise my right to send my daughter to any school I choose, the overriding state requirement is that education is compulsory and we are allowed to home school, or send our kids to non public alternatives. Therefore we have some choices as to where we send our children for the education that the state has mandated take place. But choices and real choice are not the same thing.

As a taxpayer, I am compelled by the threat of conversion to pay real property taxes. As one who purchases other items and has earned income in the State of Wisconsin, I also pay sales tax and income tax. Each of these taxes are sources of revenue for the state and are used to fund the government schools; not a dime goes to fund home schooling, private or parochial schools. In fact, 100% of all income taxes collected go to fund K-12 education in Wisconsin (plus roughly 40% of property taxes). Therein lies the lack of true choice, more accurately described as real economic choice. For all intents and purposes, in a market economy, real economic choice or, simply, choice are synonymous.

The issue then is as follows - as a parent raising a child it is my solemn duty, responsibility and, in fact, pure joy to provide protection and to see to the training of the mind of my child so that she can become an independent, rational, self-reliant person. This is not the exception, it is the vast rule among the vast majority of parents - there are relatively few who shirk this solemn duty. If I choose to send her to the local government school for this mind training, I fully expect to pay for it and I do - via the taxes already mentioned. However, if I make an independent decision as a parent that what is in my daughter's best interest is not attendance at Government Elementary, but rather Parochial School, I am exercising my parental rights and making a choice. Furthermore, I have to pay tuition at Parochial to exercise this state authorized choice because they do not receive funds from anywhere else. So, I have exercised my right granted to me by the state to send my daughter to a non-public school, however I have been denied the economic right to close the deal because I am still required to subsidize the education of other peoples children who attend the school that I deemed inappropriate for educating my child! I am being denied the economic right of choice by the state.

This denial occurs because economic choice implies voting with dollars between competing choices - if you buy a hamburger at McDonald's but are required by law to also buy one from Hardees have you really made a choice? The fact that the state requires me to pay twice by not crediting to me the amount I have paid in tuition to exercise my parental rights over where my daughter is educated is simply and purely immoral. While I am educating my child, I have no obligation, duty or any other moral requirement to simultaneously pay for someone elses child to be educated! Unless, of course, I should choose to be truly benevolent. Moreover, when I am done educating my child my taxes will remain and I will continue to subsidize public education. The irony is glaring, by creating the socialist/altruist mentality that permeates the government schools they have removed from us the ability to engage in true benevolence.

Economic choice is the foundation of our market economy. Private property is the storehouse of a citizens individual wealth, their only means of attaining real independence in a democracy. By expropriating capital with the threat of conversion of ones private property, the state has undertaken a direct attack upon capitalism and free markets. To fund government controlled and mandated education with the proceeds thereof with no consideration for the economic reality of the rights of parents to educate there progeny as they believe best is a direct frontal attack on individual freedom and liberty - the essential foundation and philosophical basis to which our Founding Fathers looked in creating this great country. The state might as well deny me the right of choices as well. This is, in reality for many parents, exactly what happens because only the wealthiest among us can afford to pay twice.

Real economic educational choice is more than a tag line, it is more than a griping point, it is not a ploy by rich people to keep more of their money. It is one of the most fundamental issues we face in this country because it portends a future that implies either a socialist state or a truly free society. Those of us who argue vociferously for economic educational choice are on the right side of history and stand hand in hand with Adams, Jefferson, Paine, Henry, Lee and Washington.

Who do you stand with?

Ray Hyde said...

OTBL: I'm with you.

The public school system is politically ethically, and financially bankrupt. Long before we privatize the highways, we should privatize the schools.

As far as I'm concerned, if someone wants to send their kid to a Christioan school, a Jim Crow, School, a Madrassa, or an arts school, its OK with me.

Make a pile of money, hand out vouchers, and let the teachers compete for the money.

The teachers and the kids would be better off.

Keep something like the SOL's so there is a uniform standard to measure results by, and let the teachers advertise accordingly.

James Young said...

Willis, you have the ignorance of a child. Of course "indoctrination" goes on in Christian schools. 'Cept, it's "indoctrination" chosen by parents, a right guaranteed by natural law and the Constitution, as opposed to "indoctrination" chosen by educrats. But thank you for demonstrating that they have succeeded so well with you.

OTBL and Ray, thanks for your comments. OTBL explains in detail what I (and other school choice advocates) know implicitly: that there are those who are advocates for "education," and those who are advocates for "government education." I cast my lot with the former.

criticallythinking said...

I have a somewhat contrarian view of the reason why we should have vouchers.

Everybody pays taxes (property, sales, etc.) whether they have children or not. So you don't really pay taxes to put your kids through school.

And if school was optional, then we could decide through our legislature whether we wanted our tax dollars to go to providing an education for those who do not want or can not afford to pay for it themselves.

BUT, school is not optional, it is mandatory (not sure how that happened), and it seems government is required to educate everybody.

But government can't meet the requirement for all children, because government is also prohibited from providing certain forms of education, especially related to religious belief.

Further, children don't all learn alike, but the public schools seem largely unable to adapt and specialize for all the different children that are required to get a free education.

Therefore, in meeting their obligation, the government should provide vouchers to meet their obligation of a free education for all children. Vouchers would allow all children, regardless of need, to get the best education possible.

Why isn't getting the best education possible a goal favored by everyone? It's not, you know. In Florida, the courts have ruled that the Florida Constitution mandates an "equal" education, and therefore prevents vouchers (which would apparently allow some children to get a much better education than others).

The NEA argues that we need to improve education for ALL children, rather than provide vouchers for SOME children to get a better education. But put another way, that means the NEA wants to deny some children a better education, simply so the education experience is equal. said...

As for vouchers, given that I don't have kids yet still pay taxes that support schools, why not just give me my money back instead of sending it to a school that I don't agree with?

It's because this issue should be about the best way to educate the youth of our citizenry - vouchers are not a panacea or even all that effective on a large scale given that private schools only serve 10% of the K-12 population and tend to pay teachers less than publics. Why don't we try to innovate the public system first by having anti-public school crusaders actually come up with real ideas? After all, if you or your kids' private school education is superior, then I'm certain that you can figure out how to fix the system in ways the rest of us can't.

As for the Jim Crow angle, many of Virginia's former "segregation academies" are still open in Southern VA, but they no longer keep blacks or other non-whites out. Now, those same schools are itching to add some color to their student populations. In reality, white flight from public schools was more of a Northern issue (think Boston) than a Southern one because Southern whites weren't able to just pick up and move their families just to avoid public schools. So, I don't buy the "hidden racism" argument either for Virginia.

Willis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Young said...

I told you before, ql willis: if you can't act like an adult, your comments will be deleted.

As for you comment, Conaway, you ask "why not just give me my money back instead of sending it to a school that I don't agree with?" A valid question, 'cept that we as a society have decided that we want an educated populace. The question then becomes what is the most efficient and appropriate way to do so with regard to other factors like parental rights. There is little doubt that private schools do so more efficiently. Willis' deleted comment brazenly endorses government indoctrination; yours implicitly does so, though you pay lip service to the notion that "this issue should be about the best way to educate the youth of our citizenry."

You assert that "vouchers are not a panacea"; I agree. There will be broad range of quality among private schools, with or without vouchers. But WITH them, parents will have a choice, and consumer choice ALWAYS boosts quality in a competitive marketplace. But I challenge your assertion that they would not be all that effective based on the 10% number, since a voucher or tax credit program would allow "a thousand flowers to bloom," and doubtless, many more private schools would spring up to meet the demand of parents for education which includes, for example, religious instruction. You ask "Why don't we try to innovate the public system first by having anti-public school crusaders actually come up with real ideas?" Implicit in your comment is the rejection of those ideas that HAVE been suggested, and no answer at all to the issue of government indoctrination.

I'm glad we agree that the racism issue is a slander. I grew up in a lily-white rural area in Central Pennsylvania, but my post-secondary education was in the South. Even in Prince Edward County, I rarely witnessed racism of the virulence that I recall from the Boston issue in the 1970s. In the South, the racism that remains is more of the Jefferson Davis/modern Democrat Party variety: a racism of paternalism and the notion that "Black folks just can't succeed without government aid." It's summed up well by the President's phrase: "the soft racism of low expectations."

Willis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Young said...

"Stifling debate," ql willis? Bold talk from the far Left, when you --- in the same post! --- endorse government indoctrination while condemning the natural right of parents to raise their children as they see fit. You're a totalitarian, ql willis.

And you confuse "stifling debate" with treating a name-calling child with due regard.

Willis said...

Stifling debate, huh "fudgepack mountain" Young?? Typical.

All education is indoctrination of some sort. Having the government authorize it is much better than any other option. Installing a voucher system would only magnify the class distinctions and prejudices that currently exist in the country.

Again, fudgepack mountain, I pity your children. And, if you delete this comment, I will just re-post it.

James Young said...

Willis, it is quite clear that you need to get out of your parents' basement and check out the real world. Obviously, your indoctrination has included the notion of mainstreaming perversion (probably because of a personal interest), as your passionate defense of it would indicate.

And "pity [my] children," willis? They're quite happy and well-adjusted boys, as anyone who knows them would attest. Pity your parents can't say the same thing.

Willis said...

I still pity your children, fudgepack mountain. After all, you are their father.

James Young said...

Oh, willis, pity you're an atheist. You should thank God for the Internet. Where else could a loser like you get attention?

Willis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Will Vaught said...

Isn't Hamton-Sidney a "government" school too?

I love right-wing jargon, always good for a laugh...

James Young said...

C'mon, Will! I know you can spell better than that. And no, Hampden-Sydney is not a government school. It's a private institution; always has been, ever since it was founded by, among others, Patrick Henry and James Madison.

Will Vaught said...

Just picking on you a bit, I grew up just outside of HSC, and know many folks at HSC too...

Willis said...

Hey James, enjoy worshiping the imaginary sky wizard!!!

I have better things to do.

James Young said...

Oh, willis, your atheism is completely consistent with your arrogance and self-absorption.

Willis said...

You got it wrong. My self-absorption and arrogance are completely consistent with my atheism.

Your idiocy and myopic worldview are completely consistent with your christianity.

James Young said...

Thank you, willis. So [paraphrase] "Christians are myopic idiots"?

Bold words from someone who throws the word "bigot" around so freely.

Willis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James Young said...

Willis, if you can't keep a civil tongue, your comments will be deleted.

Willis said...

Delete this comment!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Young, my name is Tony Ares. I wrote the original column in the Potomac News. Let's be reasonable and try to agree where we can. I am born again believer in Jesus Christ as Lord. I believe in the Bible word for word too. I also believe that perhaps privately we can educate our children cheaper and more effectively. I agree that the education budget is out of control. Here is where I think we disagree: We should have a stipulation on the voucher that the private school must reflect the community that it's placed in. If I am a "race trader" or if this isn't a problem then the stipulation shouldn't make a difference anyway. Most of the posts resulted in name calling or ad hominem attacks. It's easy to dismiss a factual point by just saying..."that's slanderous". Lets get to the meat of the matter.