Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Politics of School Choice

In a prepared speech before the NAACP Convention in Boston, McCain said,

"Parents ask only for schools that are safe, teachers who are competent, and diplomas that open doors of opportunity. When a public system fails, repeatedly, to meet these minimal objectives, parents ask only for a choice in the education of their children. Some parents may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private school. Many will choose a charter school. No entrenched bureaucracy or union should deny parents that choice and children that opportunity."
No mention of parents who may choose to homeschool. Actually, when talking about education, neither candidate says a whole lot about homeschooling. Which is A-OK with me. The less any politician notices or meddles with homeschoolers, the happier I'll be.

I know not all homeschoolers feel that way. Which made me wonder, will the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA-PAC) endorse anyone in the Presidential election? They jumped in very early for Huckabee stating he was a principled conservative governor and he had the best chance of winning because no member of the House or Senate has been elected President in nearly half a century. However, the race is now between two senators. Obviously, Obama is not HSLDA's choice. So why wait on a McCain endorsement? Perhaps they are holding out in hopes of a Huckabee nod as VP and then they'll order the foot soldiers into battle. I'm not sure how many privates they'll find in the ranks. I know a lot of Republican deserters who are wandering the countryside looking for a home.

In his speech, McCain also took a swipe at the teachers unions by critcizing teacher certifiction. He reminded NAACP members that you can be a "Nobel Laureate and not qualify to teach in most public schools today." So true. McCain also criticized Obama's refusal to give low-income Americans a choice in education.
"In remarks to the American Federation of Teachers last weekend, Senator Obama dismissed public support for private school vouchers for low-income Americans as, "tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice." All of that went over well with the teachers union, but where does it leave families and their children who are stuck in failing schools?"
McCain's website says it is hypocritcal for politicians to send their children to elite schools and not give that same choice to all parents. He believes parents should be able to move their children and the money associated with them away from failing schools. Obama opposes school choice, because that will siphon money and resources away from schools that need it. But that obviously wasn't a concern when he chose an elite school for his young daughters.

McCain isn't the only one taking aim with Obama's opposition to school choice. Black radio talk show host and staunch Obama supporter, Roland Martin says his guy is wrong on school choice,

"But part of the reason why vouchers have been denounced and dismissed is because Democrats have been far too obstinate on the issue, and have not listened to their constituents, especially African-Americans, who overwhelmingly support vouchers.

There is no doubt that on this issue, McCain has it right and Obama has it wrong."

School choice is a popular issue with many black voters. Perhaps, Obama should reschedule his trip to the Iraq and take a fact-finding mission to Detroit to see the success war zone our public schools have become. The detainees at Gitmo are safer than those kids.

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