Last week the government issued a jaw-dropping report telling us that segregation in public schools is getting worse not better. The study by the Government Accountability Office that the percentage of schools with “racial or socioeconomic isolation” has nearly doubled (from 9 to 16 percent) between 2001 and 2014. These segregated schools tend to perform worse. As Democratic Rep. John Conyers put it: “There can be no excuse for allowing educational apartheid in the 21st century.”
Of course, that’s true. The government has re-created an education system that is separate and unequal with the poor and mostly blacks and Hispanics stuck in the worst inner city schools.
Mr. Conyers thinks the solution is more money for schools. He’s wrong. Cities with some of the worst government-run schools in the country — places like Chicago and Washington, D.C. — spend $15,000 to $20,000 per student. Many catholic schools in these cities spend one-third to one-half less, and get much better results. Public schools spend twice per student what they did in the 1960s.
Now think about this in the context of the Department of Education’s lunatic ruling that public schools will soon have to allow transgender bathrooms and shower facilities. Bring back the dunce cap for whomever thought this one up.
Many parents around the country are so infuriated by this ruling that they see no other alternative than to pull their sons and daughters out of the public schools. The Obama ruling applies only to public institutions, which means private schools can still keep boys out of the girls locker rooms.
This is as it should be. Schools are supposed to be places that promote family and religious values rather than undermine them.
One advantage of parental choice in education through vouchers or scholarships is that values issues are left to the parents not politicians. Schools can announce their policies on issues from condoms to sexual identity accommodations to the best educational curriculum and parents pick the schools accordingly. No one’s civil rights are violated and everyone is happy.
The only problem is that many poor parents can’t afford private tuition on top of the taxes they pay to finance the government schools. A voucher allows them options beyond the assigned school they are required to attend. Blacks have been traditionally a demographic group highly opposed to gay marriage, so it is doubtful that African American parents will be thrilled with transgender bathrooms and showers in public schools. Solution: Give them a voucher to opt out.
Free the children. This will allow the poorest kids to go to superior public, private, or religious schools that perform better academically. We know in Washington, D.C., where voucher programs already exist, voucher kids are more likely to graduate and go on to college than those stuck in the public schools.
The unions hate vouchers because it means fewer jobs and union dues for the labor bosses. But who are the schools for? The teachers or the kids?
Thanks to the Obama administration’s radicalism, millions of children will be now stuck in schools that the parents believe are unsafe and immoral. Millions more are stuck in failing schools that are racially segregated. Fifty years ago George Wallace wouldn’t let minority poor children into the public schools. Now the unions and others on the left won’t let minorities and poor children out. It’s hard to know which is worse.
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