Thursday, July 31, 2008

School Vouchers

Thursday's Atlanta Journal contains an article reviewing the contributions to two Georgia state campaigns from a Michigan PAC promoting school vouchers. Apparently, the group spent $33,000 last week for mailings asking voters to support two legislative candidates. This PAC, All Children Matter, was established by a wealthy Michigan GOP couple, Dick and Betsy Devos. The Journal contends that these contributions mark Georgia as a coming battleground for the school voucher issue.

In the mailings the PAC does not mention vouchers, but praises the candidates in other ways. They say they want the candidates to be open to "meaningful education reform." In other words, they want the candidates to help them continue the GOP/reconstructionist campaign to destroy the public school system in this country. It appears that they are supporting candidates in districts with possibly low performing schools. These candidates could be encouraged to support vouchers in order to send their kids to a better school, i.e. a private school. As a result, the candidates are being used to further the cause.

Using government money to support private, mostly church related schools, through so-called vouchers, is yet another blow to the separation of church and state. The current regime in Washington and the Republican party, which has fallen under the spell of the fundamentalist Christian movement, has long advocated government giving tax money to churches through school vouchers and various aid programs for the poor.

The Bush regime has also contributed to the downfall of the public school system with the "no child left behind" program. Children are being taught "the test," instead of following a curriculum that will provide them with a good educational start in life. Teachers are fed up with paperwork and the pressures that come with low test scores. Good teachers are leaving the profession and schools are continually under pressure to meet the Bush standards. All of this bureaucratic nightmare is accomplishing just what the fundamentalists want. Many public schools, particularly urban and poor rural systems are falling farther into an abyss, while the private Christian schools can crow about their attention to learning versus what they call government controlled, Godless education.