COMPETITION IN EDUCATION, PARENTAL CONTROL
GOOD THINGS
Educator Cites Religious Bias Among Educational Establishment as One Cause of Anti-School Choice Attitudes 

by Jim Brown

(AgapePress) 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 constitutional.




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