After reviewing Howard Rich’s interview with GOP Chairman Katon Dawson posted on SC Hotline, I like, so many, found his platitudes hard to argue against. The same can be said of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Who wants to stand against parents choosing what is best for their children? Who stands against hope?
However, like Obama’s platitudes, Rich’s are without great thought. Both men seem to forget the federal principle of federalism and seem all to eager to use whatever is at their disposal to make folks buy into their vision of America and what they think government should do. Neither man is for limited government, only for government that furthers their objectives.
I know that gives some folks pause. But, in all frankness, what works in
On the issue of public education, let’s take a look at what
Such a tax credit ignores two very important facts. First, in the areas were our public school performance lacks the most, there are no viable private school alternatives. Second, where there are legitimate private school alternatives, the tuition is far greater than the tax credit offered. There is simply no way the current plan can give the struggling student a way out. The idea that a poor student from Ware Shoals or Allendale who wants to achieve more can get into private school with the tax credit is just fanciful. All tax credits will do is help upper middle class families in the suburbs with the Volvo payment.
That help will not be for long. For those parents and children who might benefit from the tax credit will still find they will be paying for the products of failed public education and the culture of failure that persists. Those costs will be found in the time tested costs of ignorance: social programs, law enforcement and jails.
It is a stark and painful truth to face. But, alas it there staring us in the face. If we conservatives really want our state to move forward, we should not rely upon gimmicks, but instead have the political fortitude to challenge the culture of failure and call for public education reform. We should put the resources into that reform to make a real difference for the children who, frankly, have no other alternative but the public schools to make their lives better.
I realize there are no big campaign dollars to be gained for politicians who make such a stand. The Howard Rich crowd wants tax credits. The education establishment wants the status quo. However, common sense tells us they are both wrong. The status quo is not getting the job done. Tax credits for private schools will not fix that problem. The only thing that will is politicians having the courage to stand up and reform public education and make public education again into the force it once was. For, with public education the
The state of
Today, we face similar hard challenges. Will we become a people who forego the values of public education in favor of assisting a few help their children do better? Will we become a people who allow the status quo keep giving us inefficiency and a marked lack of success? Will we become a people led by the well financed extreme sides of a debate that offers no real solutions and leaves us with paying the bill for the products of failed education in our social programs and prisons?
Or, will we find the will to do the hard thing, and that hard thing is reforming public education. Let’s spend our time and energy working to cut administrative costs and fight for a common sense, business friendly approach to curriculum. Parents have more control in public schools now than the politicians will admit. They can go to school board meetings and meet with teachers. Parents can organize campaigns to elect school board members. Common sense solutions are not that far away. All it takes is a little will and gumption by parents and politicians. I realize it is hard work, but are we so removed from our cultural heyday of the space program that we are afraid to actually work to do the hard things needed to make our society better?