- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Let’s momentarily step away from the new 24/7 reality show “Republican Apprentice.” (Spoiler alert: Donald Trump is trying to prove he never was on the Republican reservation.)

Now onto the respite.

This item falls into Forrest Gump’s “stupid is as stupid does” category.

The weekend after the Democrats held a coronation for Hillary Clinton, a bunch of Philadelphians decided to throw a neighborhood block party. They checked off the usual stuff on the list — beer, food, kids’ games, etc. Then some knuckleheads added a pool. Then a portable pool. Then dumpster pool.

Up popped a waste-and-trash dumpster, which was filled with water and 50 or so folks.

Now, most of us commonsense people know better. We know because we smell the stench and rot simply walking by or driving behind those monster trucks that collect our garbage. You would think adults would know better, but no.

Philly has the same problem that New York and other cities are having along the East Coast. Hence, government warnings that turning on fire hydrants for wet and wild street fun is a no-no — especially because doing so lowers water pressure when fires need to doused.

There’s another reason, too: Dumpster pools are unsanitary — no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Thanks to former newspaper colleague Winston Groom for providing the perfect Gumpism.

OK, turn your attention to an education issue.

No, it’s nothing from the lips of Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump, although someday, someway they should be asked to deliver their individual Cliff’s Notes version of America’s public education system.

Yet, like annoying gnats, fruit flies and mosquitoes (and some presidential wannabes), public schooling is here to stay. (With biased admiration of Frederick Douglass, Thomas Jefferson and Booker T. Washington.)

Here’s the genesis of this discussion: Several state unions, including the teachers, engineers and Teamsters, are suing the state of Washington over funding for public charter schools. The lawsuit claims, as most legal and rhetorical arguments do, that using public coffers to finance charter schools is unconstitutional and depletes funding for traditional public schools.

Any full-hearted proponent of school choice knows their argument is balderdash. Look, charter schools are appealing to parents for many reasons, and chief among them is that they do not necessarily adhere to the one-size-fits-all policy, their principals and teachers don’t necessarily move in lock-step with their union brothers and sisters, and they follow closely to a per-pupil formula. Public schools pretend to do the latter.

Here is what some senior fellows at the Heartland Institute had to say about the lawsuit, which for brevity’s sake I refer to as El Centro de la Raza v. Washington.

Senior fellow Bruno Behrend said: “The Washington Teachers Unions specifically, and the government education complex in general, once again expose their moral illegitimacy by attempting to destroy education options for Washington’s students and families.

“Once again, the education establishment is promoting the canard that pouring money into a wasteful public monopoly constitutes ‘funding’ for education, while allowing money to follow the child to other education options — charter schools, in this case — constitutes a diversion of funds.

“Their argument is a naked appeal to fund bureaucracies, administration, and the patronage of a public monopoly over funding a child’s education.”

Said Heartland’s Larry Sand: “That the unions are plaintiffs is not surprising. Any threat to the edu-blob is a threat to them. But why is La Raza, a group that purportedly advocates for Latinos, in on it? Studies have shown that minorities benefit most from charter schools.”

The unions would dive in dumpsters for Mrs. Clinton, and she wouldn’t even have to ask. And if Mr. Trump were to seek union endorsement, the unions would direct him toward the underworld, where some people think he vacations anyway.

El Centro de la Raza v. Washington isn’t the first case, and it won’t be the last, which is why school choice advocates can’t even afford to take a summer break.

I rest my case.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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