Sunday, April 15, 2012

WaPo, Chavous, Vouchers . . . . Bovine Excrement

by Edd Doerr

An April 11 Washington Post editorial, "Voucher politics", extolled the DC school voucher plan imposed by George W. Bush and the Repubs nearly a decade ago, seemingly unaware that the DC vouchers are paid for by taxes on all US taxpayers, that the chief beneficiaries are pervasively sectarian private schools in DC, that tens of millions of US voters have rejected vouchers or their analogs in 26 statewide referenda from coast to coast by an average margin of 2 to 1, that the 2011 Gallup education poll showed opposition to vouchers nationally at 65% to 34%, and that DC voters defeated a voucher plan in 1981 by 89% to 11%. Why has the Post reversed the sound positions it took on this issue editorially on 6/21/69 and 3/3/71 (editorials cited in my book Great Quotations on Religious Freedom, Prometheus Books, 2002)?

On April 14 the Post printed a "Local Opinions" piece by hack politician Kevin Chavous attacking DC mayor Gray and President Obama for not supporting DC school vouchers. Chavous had the incredible, unhinged chutzpah to say that "all over this country, progressive, forward-looking public officials" are supporting vouchers. Yeah, "progressive, forward-looking" politicians like ultra-right-wing Republican governors and legislators like Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Indiana's Mitch Daniels, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, the GOP governors and legislators of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and the likes of Newt Gingrich and John Boehner. No progressives that I know of are in favor of school vouchers.

Briefly, vouchers violate our federal and state constitutional principle of separation of church and state, violate every citizen's religious freedom, fragment our student population along religious and other lines, threaten to destroy democratic public education, render the teaching profession less attractive, adversely affect the education of kids, undercut science teaching and women's rights, increase educational costs, and serve the political interests of religious fundamentalists.

The Post is unlikely to alter its mistaken position on school vouchers unless it is bombarded with letters and emails.

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