A tool speaks
We LOVE vouchers, too
Let Your People Stay
By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: February 21, 2006
If you were a Democrat watching Coretta Scott King's funeral, you could congratulate yourself on the party's role in past civil rights struggles. But if you saw what's been on television in Milwaukee in the past month, you'd wonder what's become of your party.
Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, looks like public enemy No. 1 for African-American schoolchildren. "He's throwing away my dream," one Milwaukee student says in a TV commercial supporting the city's school voucher program for low-income families. Another commercial shows a black father on the verge of tears saying: "School choice is good enough for the governor's family. I ought to be able to have it, too."
But it still leaves the party in Wisconsin and elsewhere with long-term problems. How long will blacks vote for a party that opposes the voucher programs they strongly favor? And how can Democratic leaders keep preaching their devotion to public schools while sending their own children to private schools, as Governor Doyle does? He's what I call a Lypsy, an acronym for Let Your People Stay.
Doyle told me that he wasn't bothered by the personal attacks, and that he had compromised only to avoid disrupting students' education. He said he was still philosophically opposed to vouchers and didn't fear reprisals from black voters. "I don't think this is an issue that moves voters," he said, arguing that blacks distrust Republicans on too many other issues.
He may be right — for now. Howard Fuller, a prominent advocate for vouchers as well as a former superintendent of Milwaukee's public schools, told me he hadn't seen the popularity of the voucher program translate into much affection for Republicans among his fellow African-Americans, especially his civil rights comrades.
"Those people you saw at Coretta Scott King's funeral are not going to change," he said. "My generation pushed for social change through government solutions, but younger blacks are much more interested in private initiatives. They understand that the public school system cannot by itself be the solution to educating low-income children."
One of those younger blacks is Jason Fields, a first-term state legislator who has defied his fellow Democrats by supporting vouchers. "If the Democratic Party is supposed to be the party of the little guy, where do we get off opposing a chance to help those with the least of all?" he asked. The answer he's heard from his party is that supporting vouchers can end your career if the teachers' union supports a candidate against you in the Democratic primary.
But Fields, who represents a predominantly black district in Milwaukee, is that rare Democrat who will stand up for his constituents against the union. "If they run someone against me, so be it," Fields said. "I'm willing to leave it up to the voters to decide who really cares about African-Americans, and who's just spitting out rhetoric."
Fields should enjoy his single term in office. Because he forgets the teachers union has lots of black members.
I'm not surprised Tierney, no friend of black people, likes this idea. But people like Fields should have short political careers because they's dumber than posts.
Vouchers start with black kids, but then will move so white folks can send their kids to private schools, leaving black kids behind.
I don't know why Fields doesn't get that. But he will. The fact is that vouchers sound great, but only a few kids get them.
Come on, when people like John Tierney and the GOP want to push this, you know the welfare of black people is nowhere in the room.
Willful stupidity is a crime.
Look, there is no alternative to a functioning public school system. 90 percent of all Americans who attend high school attend a public high school. Even homeschoolers rely on the resources of the public school system for some functions. There is no subsititute for the public schools. Not only are they vital for an informed population, but a shared sense of civic duty.
The GOP want to destroy public schools or leave them as a rump system so they can funnel cash into seg academies and Christian schools. Anyone foolish enough to assist in that deserves to be defeated at the polls.
posted by Steve @ 11:02:00 AM