Monday, September 22, 2003

School Board - The Washington Post's Paul Hill takes a balanced approach to the idea of school choice and the federally-mandated DC voucher program. I am a supporter of school choice, but I still think a federally-mandated voucher program is not the best solution to a clear problem for the crisis in our public school system. As Hill rightly points out, voucher supporters should recognize that there is nothing inherently magical about the voucher program, and that, in fact, there are major crippling obstacles to implementing a voucher program that could only worsen an already critical situation. I would also like to point out that any voucher program would STILL be a federally-mandated government program; and so it is a mistake to think that politics and government bureaucracy would not be involved in the implementation of such a program. Unless a voucher program is for all, and not a select few, the task of deciding who gets to buy in and who gets to watch on the sidelines does not seem like such a good school choice program to me. Also, ALL schools hoping to receive voucher money should be accountable to fair admissions policies and standards - making the "choice" of education that voucher recipients would hope to get a real choice. This means eliminating any racial, religious, gender, testing, etc., preconditions for admission. But, in the end, I'm willing to let voucher supporters have their shot at it. I think it's the wrong solution; and so I can't, in good conscience, support it. But out of respect for those who do support it, and who really have the good intention of improving on a problem recognized by all, I can't, also in good conscience, deny the voucher movement's right to have the chance to prove me wrong.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Liberal Lighthouse - Zowie!!! Robert Scheer expresses what I think is a growing cynicism and awareness on the part of the Bush Administration to lie first and backtrack later. He's got a point. The fact that this happens much too often among supposedly smart people makes it seem less coincidental than calculated. Bush is destined to be known in history as much for patronizing deception as any prior President.

School Board - I have been participating in a very interesting exchange with Bryan Preston on his conservative blog's comment board with regard to the whole school voucher debate. This debate has firmed up in my mind what I think is the hypocrisy of conservative support for the whole school voucher program. In essense, it seems that conservatives supporters of school vouchers lament the sad state of affairs of the public education system and want individuals to be able to use tax dollars via vouchers to put into the bank accounts of private schools. But these very same conservatives, who generally have a problem with government handouts to the poor, don't seem to mind it so much if these handouts really don't go to the poor, but to the endowments of their preferred private schools. Check out my exchanges with this conservative blogger to glimpse the typical conservative arguments in support of school vouchers and the inconsistencies that this argument entails. The most delicious and gratifying way to challenge conservatives is to use their own arguments against them. It's hilarious to see Bryan Preston protesting the tax exploitation of the poor and having to defend himself by arguing against the very conservative line of reasoning he so often employs against liberals.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Liberal Lighthouse - Michael Kinsley of Slate tells it like it is with regard to GW's hubris and the $87 billion, 1-dead-U.S.-soldier-per-day Iraqi nation-building plan.