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home : opinions : opinions August 28, 2014

2/22/2013 4:00:00 PM
Our View: Feb. 22, 2013

Democrats and liberals are very good at political manipulation and distortion, and this week was no exception.

On the national stage, there was President Barack Obama surrounding himself with First Responders, warning that many of their jobs, and other vital positions, would vanish if the coming sequester actually happens.

What the president failed to say is, that’s only if agencies choose to cut vital services first, rather than excessive staffing, travel, pay and other nonessential and unnecessary government spending. As the Wall Street Journal observed, the same agencies that say they can’t cut 5 percent are the agencies who have received, on average, 17 percent increases over the past five years. 

Here in Wisconsin, in the wake of Gov. Scott Walker’s announced plan to expand school choice, the liberals were busy again trying to prejudice the public’s thinking on the issue by misrepresenting the facts.

As we report in today’s edition, John Forester, director of government relations for the Wisconsin School Administrators Alliance, said the proposal continues what he called the “disastrous defunding of public education.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, as even Democratic Assembly leader Peter Barca acknowledged, the coming budget puts state money back into education, pegged to performance. What liberals really mean to say is that by increasing money for  the voucher program, that money is being redirected away from “public” education.

And that’s where the deception comes in. For no matter how much money is channeled into the choice effort, that is still money spent on educating the public. In other words, it still funds public education. 

Liberals want to define public education as government-run, bureaucracy-bloated, union-controlled schools because the latter, more accurate description exposes the purpose of the scheme, which is to protect their explicit monopoly and special interests. 

A government school is indeed only one form of public education, and a generally poor one at that. Funding voucher programs doesn’t take a nickel from public education; rather, it empowers parents to choose which public education they want.

Parents want to choose schools for different reasons. Academics is an obvious one. Anti-choice monopolists like to dispute the academic superiority of private voucher schools, and, the truth is, some government schools will excel and some private schools won’t, and vice versa. The only thing that matters is whether they all meet state-established expectations – today, many government schools don’t, including LUHS – and the Wisconsin program is structured to achieve that.

Indeed, competition and accountability will help boost all schools, government and private, to new standards of excellence.

But parents choose schools for other reasons, too. In certain areas, they may think a private school is safer than a government school, or they prefer the cultural setting, or the educational philosophy, such as a Waldorf school. 

Why should only the affluent enjoy the various menus of education? 

In an undistorted world, letting students of all incomes and geographic areas into the cafeteria is a truly public education system, not the segregation of children in failing schools they are forced to attend. 

In the end, educational choice is about the children; it is about competition, diversity, and quality. Monopoly government schooling is about the special interests who run those schools.

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