Issue 139, December 20, 2009
From Homeschool Helpers
By Dan L. White
in association with Pass It On Ministries
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The Democratic Congress just ended the District of Columbia’s school choice voucher program. It is called the Opportunity Scholarship Program, and gives 1,700 students vouchers worth up to $7,500 per year to attend a private school.
The title of that program is interesting – Opportunity Scholarship Program. What is the opportunity they are referring to? It has to be the opportunity to escape the socialist public schools. But the Senate just approved a spending bill that ends funding for the five year old program. Obama has already signed the bill. It is done. The opportunity to escape is over, or at least the opportunity to get paid for escaping.
Why did the Democratic Congress and Democrat Obama cut off these educational funds to DC, which is almost wholly Democrat?
Because the National Education Association sent a letter to every Democrat in Congress – every Democrat in the House and the Senate. That letter said, “Opposition to vouchers is a top priority for NEA. We expect that Members of Congress who support public education, and whom we have supported, will stand firm against any proposal to extend the pilot program. Actions associated with these issues WILL be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress.”
This is such a brazen display of self interest by the public school teachers union that it has disgusted many people. The small school choice program in DC is extremely popular with parents there and has produced good results. But the teachers don’t care about that; which is to say – they don’t care about the kids. They only care about their union and protecting their turf. They desire that nobody in the country should be allowed to teach America’s youth except for them.
The way the Democrats ended this program is also interesting. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois heads the Senate committee that oversees funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. For a year he has been saying that he did not necessarily oppose the Opportunity Program, but he wanted certain conditions met. That led people to think that the program might not end, so they did not mount a big campaign to save it.
First, Durbin said that the DC Council needed to approve the program before Congress could extend it. So the DC Council did that, and sent Congress a letter strongly supporting the opportunity to escape the public schools. Then Durbin said that the program needed to have the private schools who receive the scholarship students give exactly the same standardized tests as the public schools. The private schools are private, of course, and most will have a different testing program than the public schools. However, to keep the program going, it was agreed that the private schools would give the same tests as the public schools.
Then, after all that, Durbin and the Democrats still killed the program. Killing the program stirred up a lot of opposition, even among Democrats, and the liberals squashed that opposition by letting them think the program would not be killed. They were only buying time, and at the right time, they killed it before any great opposition could be mounted.
The reaction to this opportunity to escape the public schools program is interesting. Before the vote to kill the program, several Senators sent a letter to Harry Reid, Democratic leader of the Senate, asking him to reconsider. Those senators included liberals Joe Lieberman, Robert Byrd and Dianne Feinstein. These liberals supported the opportunity to escape the public schools, at least in DC.
The Wall Street Journal ran an article about this matter titled Duplicitous and Shameful. The title shows what that paper thought of the Democrats’ conduct, both in killing the program and how they did it. With more than a hundred comments about that article left on the WSJ web site, they were almost unanimous in condemning the liberals and their public schools.
Washington, DC is a rotting example of the fruits of socialism. Many of the people there live in the government housing projects and most of the young people there go to the government educational projects. The rich liberals do neither, yet DC continuously votes almost unanimously liberal. Many people there are held in a type of second class servitude, yet they keep voting for the same politicians who enslave them.
Judging from the reaction to ending this opportunity to escape the public schools program, it may well be that in another year or so America will be ready to think about ending this expensive and inept socialist education system. The DC parents who like the program are liberals. Some of the senators who wanted to continue the program are liberals. And many conservatives are so tired of socialism that they, too, may want young people to have the opportunity to escape the government education projects. Right now the wave of socialism is almost overwhelming, but the Democrats’ brass may come back to bite them.
Meanwhile, we got word that another Christian family has decided to homeschool. That means that they are willing to make Christ the center of their family, not only in word, but also in time. That means that the father will have Bible studies with his family. That means that the mother will take time to be with her children in the short time they are still young. That means that, unlike the public schools, God will never be excluded from their children’s lives. Every subject, every lesson, every day will be in the presence of God. He will never be kicked out, and He will never fail them.
As I so often say, we have seen the fruits of this Christ centered school system for over thirty years, and it is one of the most wonderful things we have seen in life. Christian homeschooling is much more than theology. It is do-ology. And it is wonderful that another family has come up with their own opportunity to escape the public schools program.