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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Real Education Tragedy

                      The Real Education Tragedy
There is a real education crisis in America, but because of the players involved, no one wants to face the hard facts. One of those hard facts is that our public schools in the poor areas of our nation are just plain lousy. The drop-out rate is horrendous and the quality of the education those who stay in school receive is sub par (and that’s being generous).

Those who do graduate from high school pay a huge price. When you don’t get a good, solid education, how in the world can you compete in a tough college environment? How can you compete in the workplace? It’s a rotten deal and these children deserve better.

So what’s the problem? Who or what is keeping these schools from being top-flight educational institutions at both the primary and secondary levels?

Well, it’s not money. Take the District of Columbia, for example. The District spends more per pupil than nearly every other state in the nation, but the schools are notoriously lousy. They are lousy in terms of facilities and lousy in terms of education. There is simply no excuse for lousy facilities or getting a lousy education when there is that much money being spent per student.

It’s not the students either. They’re not dumb. Yes, they could use more encouragement and support from their parents, but lots of students could use that.
The real problem is the politicians who are being held captive by the National Education Association, one of the most far-left unions in the United States. Most of the politicians, right and left, know that they could facilitate a better education for the poorest members of our society by embracing school vouchers.

The jury is not out. School vouchers work. It’s happening today in Wisconsin and in other isolated locations across the country. Thanks to school vouchers, thousands of students who live in the poorest areas of Wisconsin are going to great schools thanks to the school voucher system in place. Many of these schools are like St. Marcus, which not only provides a top-flight education, but also the kind of moral and ethical guidance that will help their students become solid members of society. It took a left-right coalition of truly caring political leaders to secure school vouchers in Wisconsin. Together they created a better system for the underprivileged students in their state.

So why isn’t this successful system spreading like wildfire across the nation? There is one reason, and only one reason—the opposition of the most powerful union in America—the National Education Association.

This union wields massive power and control over the policies of the Democratic Party, making the politicians kneel at their altar. While Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lament the plight of poor Americans, especially black Americans, the truth is that they are the ones primarily responsible for holding back poor Americans. They are restraining them from realizing the American dream because they are captives of the NEA.

Almost no one would disagree that the key to getting out of poverty is education. The fact is that quality education for a large portion of our society is within our grasp—almost. If only those who pride themselves as being champions of the poor would put their politics aside and bring quality education to the inner cities and poor rural areas through school vouchers. 

This is a tragedy that need not happen. We have the solution at hand. All that is needed now is political courage.

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