This oft-quoted line from the then-governor of Massachusetts might be updated to include "the public interest" as well as public safety.
There are few matters of public interest greater than educating the next generation. Chicago public school teachers who went on strike Monday have struck against the public interest, placing self-interest in difficult economic times ahead of children.
At a time of high unemployment, the teachers and the
But there is a way around the current impasse that doesn't involve giving in to the union. It's school choice. Competition would allow parents to send their children to schools that make them the priority.
The public school system is a virtual state monopoly inundated by many dictates from Washington and has been unable to consistently produce nearly enough well-rounded graduates capable of supporting themselves or contributing to the nation. Yet public school students, especially the poor and minorities, remain locked in failed schools so that Democratic politicians can seemingly reap the political benefits -- and contributions -- from teachers unions.
Politicians regularly campaign for more spending on education. In Maryland, proponents of an expansion of casino gambling are betting on the success of the familiar appeal that it will provide more money for public schools. But the state, like most of the nation, is spending record amounts on public schools. If money and educational achievement were linked, we'd have a surplus of national merit scholars.
Indiana is one of many success stories. The state has just begun its second year of a voucher program. Parents can decide where to send their kids, whether to public, private secular, religious or charter schools. As World Magazine recently reported, "About 300 private, largely Christian schools in the state are accepting voucher students -- and gaining a financial boost as they arrive." So much else is working in Indiana under
According to World Magazine, 10 states and the District of Columbia now offer a variety of school voucher options. In his 2010 fiscal year budget, President
"The president doesn't believe that vouchers are a long-term answer to our educational problems and the challenges that face our public school system ..."
This is a political advantage for Republicans, as many African-American and Hispanic families are supportive of school choice. Most of these are Democratic voters, but nothing appeals to a parent more than safeguarding their children's future.