To the Editor:
Not long ago, Sen. Vinehout wrote a letter to the editor, which simply demands a reply.
First, I’ll repeat the unbelievably stupid quote from ultra-liberal Garrison Keillor: “When you wage war on the public schools, you’re attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You’re not a conservative, you’re a vandal.”
Being a liberal, and educated in modern, American public schools that don’t teach history, Keillor doesn’t know that America’s literacy rate in 1795 was estimated at 90 to 95 percent (that includes women, not just men). Compare that to today’s rate of 87 percent (and it’s actually worse than that – according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, a study completed in 2003, “Roughly 40 percent were at either basic or below basic levels of proficiency”). You can see that the youth of America were doing much better before education was put under the tender care of the government (either federal or state), and also before it was unionized. I think we’re all pretty tired of the way public schools are depicted as the only, apple-pie, American way, when in reality they’ve only been around for some 100 years, unionized for less time, and have been a signally obvious disaster, for just that long. Education worked when it was local, small, and not controlled by higher, governing bodies.
You seem to dislike charter schools. So do I, but for different reasons. Sensible people realize that charter schools aren’t, in the long run, going to be any better for students than the old-model public schools.
The only way education will ever recover is for it to become as totally independent of the government, as completely local, and parent-controlled, as moral and Godly, as it was 200 years ago. Is this scary to you? Well, get over it. It’s time we, as Americans, started doing the radical, but right, thing.
Moving on, you suggested that giving local students and their families more choice in their education is somehow “removing local control.” Well, actually, as if I needed to state the obvious, it would be about removing union control, and giving more control to individuals. This causes a lot of consternation among the union set. I suppose all men would be tyrants if they could – and union educators are no exception.
The issue is really very simple – is the money going to children’s education, or to the salary and benefits of the teachers and administrators, who are turning out the dismal literacy rate of modern America?
More money is always the goal, not better education. Witness the recent confusion in Mercer, where homeowners were told by a school official that their tax bills would be $11 extra per $100,000 of property owned. It turned out to be much more. It was a “mistake” in the school’s favor, the administration now says. But, how can the American people trust government administrators like these to guide our children and the future of our country?
Take the case in Michigan, where a teacher convicted of sexual abuse of a student and who is now in prison, enjoyed the support of his loyal union – not just a few hard-core administrators, but an almost unanimous cadre of fellow teachers – who worked feverishly to get him a cushy severance package. If unions don’t make you sick, you must have a stomach of independently-produced steel.
You talk endlessly in your letter, Ms. Vinehout, about how terrible the future will be, if kids get to go to better schools than the failing public ones they now attend. I see what you mean; the future does look bleak – for second- and third-class (and sometimes even criminal) teachers, administrators, and bureaucrats, when union thugs can no longer strong-arm cushy bennies and pensions out of a deceived and vulnerable public, who, honest and upright, just want to do the right thing by kids.
The trend toward universal government funding and testing is extremely dangerous. Truly independent schools (which, of course, charter schools are not) will at this rate soon be forfeiting their independence to the government, which they must not do. No government, no union, no one but parents have the ultimate rights over their children’s education. In the beginnings of this country, patriotic Americans fought for a release from the close control of government, but, today, the state is more the controller and sole arbiter of children’s education and freedoms. This alarmingly unAmerican trend grows, while the average citizen seems to be unaware of the problem.
Education independent of the government is the safest and the best. That’s why I, and many others who do not care to maintain a system where liberal ideology and union “rights” are placed constantly and consistently above the rights of the individual, will continue to fight for the abolition of the Department of Education, the National Education Association – and a lot of other departments, too.