- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Black groups both in the District of Columbia and New York City are leaning toward the voucher system to get their children out of run-down, inner city schools. Of course, this kind of thinking is not exactly what Al Gore has in mind for poor, inner city children. His answer is more money, more teachers and more schools. The problem is, the schools will still be located in the city, and the teachers simply don't want to work there. It will be interesting to see how long it is before Al tells us he invented the voucher program.

The Black Alliance for Educational Options will begin to run ads to persuade parents to support school choice programs. Teachers unions strongly oppose vouchers, primarily because it would be disastrous for them if we were to find out our children can get a superior education for half of what we are spending now. In places where voucher systems have been introduced, the results have been outstanding. However, these results seem to have little bearing on the voucher vs. public school argument.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is a good example of why we need better educated representatives. He says, “Vouchers are a tax break for parents who already have children in private schools.” This sounds like it's better to keep our kids stupid rather than give a tax break to someone who can afford to pay for their child's education. It appears we have a lot of people involved in determining the direction of our educational system who aren't involved in education.

When Al and Bill talk about all the money they want to throw at our school system, shouldn't the black critics of the voucher system ask, “Where has all this money been for the last eight years?” Here we are in the middle of a great prosperity, and our schools are falling down. Now that they are looking at the end of the gravy train, they look at the poor and say, “Let me stay in office, and we will give your children some money.” If you didn't get it in the last eight years, you're not going to get in the next four.

I'm always amazed at how the black voter reasons that the Democratic party has been their champion. Apparently, eight years of this alliance hasn't done much to change anything. There is only one answer to helping minorities to escape from economic deprivation: education. If supporting private schools with public money is a way to eliminate the growing disparity between black and white school performance, let's do it. There are too many people interested in protecting their turf at the expense of a child's education.

I would like to see a survey that determines what party you belong to and what the average education level of the membership is. Could it be that there is a party that feels the lower your education level, the more you're going to need help from them, and so it is in their best interest to see to it that you never get educated to the point where you realize what is going on? If vouchers turn out to be a failure, we can always go back to the one failing system we have now.

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