April 29, 2006


Chartering a course: Lifting cap on schools paves the way for proper learning (Stanley Crouch, April 27, 2006, NY Daily News)

We should all know by now that the public school system needs to be overhauled, and the changes will not come about as quickly as necessary. There will be battles with the unions, which hold failed practices in place while providing cover for the many incompetents whose terrible or substandard work disgraces what is one of our noblest professions.

Yet the public school student gets ever closer to high school graduation while these various, intricate battles are fought. That is why change at a swift but responsible speed is always of optimum importance. Given that fact, it is more than irresponsible for New York State to keep in place its cap on charter schools.

Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein are serious about bringing New York's public schools out of the darkness. That is why they want the cap removed. It is but one way to address a crisis in which many kids suffer from poor preparation or the intellectual suicide symbolized by dropping out. [...]

The public should support Bloomberg and Klein in fighting to lift the cap on charter schools. While the battle with the teachers union continues, we should seek out as many alternatives that go beyond talk as possible.

Even though suburban whites are unethusiastic about them, the GOP should push universal education vouchers, not just because they're a worthwhile reform but because they divide two core Democrat constituencies.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2006 8:46 AM

Somebody needs to explain why the main impact of 'universal education vouchers' would not be to spark a fresh round of 'white flight' beyond the range of minority students being bussed out from the cities. Because it seems clear that it would.

The last 'white flight' phenomenon was a massive unintended consequence which changed the face of urban and suburban America, and left us far more dependent on oil imports and oil prices (because we all commute so much further). We should be more than careful about carelessly provoking another similar cycle.

Posted by: ZF at April 29, 2006 9:28 AM


Because too few inner city blacks would put their kids in schools that far away. The more likely consequence is a boom in private and parochial schools within cities since they'd get far more per pupil with vouchers than they get now--home schooling arrangements would likewise take off. Make NYC vouchers worth what the city now spends per pupil and four kids in a tenement could pool their vouchers to buy one teacher.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2006 9:34 AM

"Blacks vs Teachers"

Nice if it's true. It isn't. Jesse Jackson sent his children to private schools. He is against vouchers. Al Sharpton sent his children to private schools. He is against vouchers.

Black leadership is doing a good imitation of solidarity with teacher unions, whenever the issue of vouchers comes up.

Posted by: h-man at April 29, 2006 10:36 AM

You are correct in holding that the "white flight" objection is easily overcome. No parents want distance bussing for their children. What they want are decent schools in theri own neighborhoods.

Bussing springs from minority prejudice that a thing is better because the white folks have it, and minority ressentment, that the misery of schools dominated by criminal elements must be inflicted on all.

The problem which must be overcome is the anti-Catholic bigotry written into state codes and even state constitutions requireing that education be "public." It will take determined federal action to slay this monster, in the form of requiring that that states which would operate this way shall do so withour one red cent of federal funds..

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 29, 2006 10:39 AM

Ruben Navarette, a fairly conservative Hispanic columnist and former teacher, stated something that was rather self-evident: Why should we expect much improvement in learning when 84% of public school teachers are white, but only 60% of public students are white?

Maybe we should consider plans to "desegregate" the teaching profession (saying that while Brad S ducks and covers!).

Posted by: Brad S at April 29, 2006 11:36 AM

You're right. They should push for them. The GOP should do a lot of things, now that they are in power. But they don't, do they?

It took years, but I finally figured it out "GOP" stands for "Gumby or Pokey"

Posted by: Trent at April 29, 2006 12:34 PM


Well, they've already vouchered DC and all public school students, but some congressman are afraid of white backlash when they finish the deal so it's not worth proposing until they can get past a Democrat filibuster in the Senate.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2006 12:40 PM

Read an article in our local paper about 1 of our schools having a fundraiser to replace books and supplies of a NOLA school.

Seems once the NOLA school reopened, it had turned into a charter school.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 29, 2006 12:50 PM

There was another article in IBD or WSJ last week on the Teachers Union and how much they make off the pension programs, but the teachers are getting the shaft.

I see pubbie talking points here, but being the stupid party.........

Posted by: Sandy P at April 29, 2006 12:52 PM

Thanks for the optimism (really). You're right about DC. I'm from there and the stories are inspiring. If you think "60" wil make a difference (get Gumby to mount Pokey and cry "Yee Haw!"), consider me a supporter of this dream. I'm not one of those people who don't vote when their party disappoints them. Disappointing vs. Evil is an easy choice and an incentive to walk (or crawl!) to the polling place.

Posted by: Trent at April 29, 2006 1:15 PM


What makes you think Jesse and Al are black?

They are white in everything but color, as they work for white teacher's unions, white Democrats, and white liberals.

They are nothing more than "race baiting poverty pimps". They are beneath contempt, as is the Public Education Industry.

Posted by: Bruno at April 29, 2006 3:39 PM

The 'white flight' scenario is overblown. Parents concerned enough about their kids to make the effort in finding the right schools probably have pretty good kids.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford,Ct at April 29, 2006 4:03 PM

In fact, you might less white flight, presuming that vouchered schools can enforce actual discipline on the children.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 29, 2006 6:33 PM

Voucher programs are analogous to giving hybrid cars access to car pool lanes - cute initially and on a small scale, but a visible absurdity once the quite small currently available spare capacity is taken and the HOV lanes clog up. Let enough of the public into the 'special' lanes and they are no longer special!

It's easy and convenient to assume that another 'white flight' wave would not occur, but that's exactly what all the wonks and liberals asserted last time. They all believed that whites would stay put while they went about their social engineering, and they were all dead wrong (an error they never acknowledged and for which they have never apologized).

"...you might get less white flight, presuming that vouchered schools can enforce actual discipline on the children" - another absurd assumption, which has been part of no voucher proposal. The political reality is that the teachers' unions can and do imprison urban blacks and other minorities in dysfunctional schools because their parents aren't sophisticated enough or motivated enough to resist effectively.

Suburban schools are run differently because the influence of suburban parents preserves them. It's inevitable that if we dilute that influence in our inner-suburb schools by pouring in inner-city kids from the worst schools then the suburban schools will fall under union control, and the motivated suburban parents will for certain move away.

We have the schools we need, right where they are needed: in the inner cities. What we need to do is change the way they are run. Anything else is a distraction. As Thatcher and Reagan discovered (Reagan because he knew the unions from the inside), there is in the end no alternative to taking on and breaking the current self-perpetuating union leaderships.

Posted by: ZF at April 29, 2006 11:25 PM

ZF - Where do you live that your suburban schools aren't under union control? I wasn't aware that there are any public schools in the country free of that scourge.

Posted by: erp at April 30, 2006 8:50 AM

An affluent inner suburb.

The local schools get enough money and time from the parents that they can afford to both deliver what the parents want and pay the 'union tax'. The teachers know that if they deviate from a focus on delivering what the parents want then the parents will quickly abandon the public school system and send their kids to private schools, as they have already done in nearby Berkeley.

A close-up view of the ongoing disaster which is the Berkeley school system provides a very effective reminder for the teachers and the principals as to why they should support the status quo.

Posted by: ZF at April 30, 2006 9:44 AM

That's delightful news and congratulations for finding a place to live where your children are safe.

When the oldest of my four grandchildren got to school age, their parents specifically moved to Berkeley because of the excellent school system!

Goes without saying that their mother is a rabid moonbat and rather unstable. My son probably votes conservative, but keeps the peace by keeping his politics to himself, so any hope of school reform is good news indeed.

Posted by: erp at April 30, 2006 10:22 AM

The teachers know that if they deviate from a focus on delivering what the parents want then the parents will quickly abandon the public school system and send their kids to private schools, as they have already done in nearby Berkeley.

The point of vouchers is to give all parents, not just the very wealthy, that kind of leverage.

Posted by: Timothy at April 30, 2006 11:53 AM


Agreed, indeed, but if the way vouchers are implemented means that their effect is simply to inflict on inner-suburb schools the union domination we haven't been able to bring ourselves to take on in the inner-city schools, then they will be worse than just an utter failure.

The real problem is still waiting for us, right next to where the kids affected by it live: in the inner cities. It will still be waiting for us there until we find the guts and the moral commitment required to deal with it.

The only way that vouchers can work productively is if the capacity of private schools in urban locations is allowed to grow rapidly. Of course everywhere we look the teachers' unions are trying to hold the line on enrollment 'caps' to prevent this happening.

Posted by: ZF at April 30, 2006 12:24 PM


And how exactly have the unions acted to put caps on voucher schools? I have never heard of any such thing. I would agree that should the stock of private schooling not increase, vouchers would be a failure, but it seems that you have simply made that contraint up out of thin air.

In addition, most (if not all) voucher proponents believe that only vouchers will be able to change the way innner city schoos are run, by transfering funding control from non-parents to parents.

P.S. We are starting to have a lot of white flight here, and as far as I can tell it is entirely because of the inability of school staff to apply discipline to trouble makers of certain ethnicities.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 30, 2006 6:02 PM