It's a great day for minority kids, children
in the inner cities and for parents who desperately want to give
their children a better education in a safer environment. It's
a great day for parents who want the same benefits for their children
enjoyed by the offspring of Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, our representatives
and senators, the wealthy and many public school principals and
teachers. It's the opportunity to choose the school where they
want their children to go.
On June 27, 2002, in the case involving
Cleveland schools, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is legal
forAmericans to choose vouchers as an alternative to traditional
government-sponsored public education. Essentially, the High Court
ruled that government programs permitting vouchers are constitutional,
even if the vouchers are used toward tuition at religious schools.
"Closing its 2001-2002 term, the Court endorsed a six-year-old
pilot program in inner-city Cleveland that provides parents a
tax-supported education stipend. Parents may use the money to
opt out of one of the worst-rated public school systems in the
nation," wrote Anne Gearan of the Associated Press.
When it comes to educating our children,
choice is good. This ruling is good. For too long now, liberal
politicians and their supporters in the education establishment
have created a climate that tells parents who can't afford private
schools - most of us - that choice in education is a bad idea.
"Let's save our public schools. Let's improve them. Don't
throw the baby out with the bathwater," are common responses.
Well, now we can take the baby out of the bath water and put him
in a different tub. Now parents have choice.
In the words of Paul McCartney in his
song "Silly Love Songs": "What's wrong with that?
I'd like to know." An inner city single mom can send her
kid to a private school, a school that might indeed teach the
values that she wants her children to learn, in a safe environment,
away from the gangs, the drugs and discipline problems. Isn't
this good for all of us?
But the liberal education establishment
says choice in education is bad. Want to know a dirty little secret?
Check out the percentage of public school principals and teachers
who send their own children to private schools. They fight feverishly
to keep that very same options they enjoy from others - especially
from parents in the inner city who need that choice most of all.
Why is it that liberal ideas that run
amok eventually lead to the tyranny of the privileged elite and
the victimization of the very people they say they are trying
to help? The elites always seem to know what's best for all of
us, and, in the process, victimize the weak, innocent, underprivileged
and poor. Think about it: ill-conceived welfare plans have encouraged
illegitimacy and the absence of fathers in the home. Abortion
kills the innocents and the helpless, and scars women emotionally
and physically. Pornography in all its myriad manifestations exploits
women and children. The teaching of normalization of aberrant
sexual lifestyles, as it is taught today in many public schools
(a la "sexual education") leads to confusion of sexual
identity and further potential exploitation of the young. And
the stranglehold of public education often locks inner city children
into educational systems that cripple them, threatens their safety
and robs them of their potential.
It's a great time for freedom. It's a
great time to have hope in the future of education in America.
Everybody needs choice. Choice is good. If we can only give unborn
babies a little choice. But let's discuss that on another day.
Now is a great time for choice in education.
(Murdock "Doc" Gibbs
is a member of the African-American leadership network Project
21 and a Dallas-area entertainer, speaker and freelance writer.
He can be reached at DocGibbs@aol.com.)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author,
and not necessarily those of Project 21.