IN EDUCATION, PARENTAL CONTROL
Cites Religious Bias Among Educational Establishment as One Cause of Anti-School
by Jim Brown
…A conservative author and journalism professor at the University of Texas
says liberal teachers' unions are attempting to protect more than just economic
interests when they fight school choice.
Marvin Olasky says the mainstream media and unions like the National Education
Association strongly oppose education tax credits and school voucher programs
out of fear the wages of public school teachers will be depressed. But the
editor of World magazine says there is also a certain amount of religious bias
involved in this issue as well.
He says within the educational establishment -- and within the press, which he
says has become "lap dog reporters" for the establishment -- there is
a real fear that if the system is opened up so that there is "real
competition," Christian schools might be part of the mix. He says that
would be construed by the establishment as a terrible thing because such schools
"might actually be teaching kids about Christ."
Olasky, who coined the term "compassionate conservatism," says a real
strategy for reforming public schools does exist. That strategy, he believes,
involves increasing competition and putting authority over children's education
in the hands of parents.
Perhaps that is why school choice programs are slowly making progress across the
country. Olasky says encouraging developments along those lines include
statewide vouchers in Colorado and a tax credit program in Arizona, as well as
city voucher programs in Cleveland and Milwaukee.
"Lots of folks in inner cities [and from different religious and political
perspectives] are coming to the conclusion ... that the only thing that's going
to help them is not more promises from the government, but real
competition," Olasky says.
He says that is why leaders like the mayor of Washington, D.C., are going
against the government establishment and the teachers' union and coming out for
vouchers and for school choice. Olasky expects Congress will pass a school
choice measure for D.C. schools that will prove to be a major breakthrough for
the nation as a whole.
Meanwhile, a church coalition formed to oppose Christian conservatives is
challenging the legality of Colorado's school voucher program. Associated Press
reports that the Interfaith Alliance says giving parents vouchers that can be
used at religious schools would illegally remove local control from school
boards and force taxpayers to support religious schools.
Colorado's program, which is to take effect next year, is the first to be
enacted since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a voucher program in Cleveland as