Monday, July 14, 2008

My views on issues: Education

For this month, I'm going to give a brief rundown of my views on issues for those of you who might be new to my blog. Today will be on education.

As with health care, I feel that we need to get the federal level out of education, and instead concentrate on education at the state level. I would shut down the Dept. of Education, and I'd greatly reduce the influence of the teachers' unions, because they both have too many players who are more intent on pushing their political ideologies (both liberal and conservative) and their social experiments (again, both liberal and conservative) than on the education of our children.

The following has been said enough times that it probably qualifies as a cliché now, but the children are our future. But it's still true, and those with political ideological or sociological agendas are also aware that the children are our future - however, they are seeing that old cliché in a way that is different from us: they are seeing it as being the children as THEIR future rather than seeing it in the broad scope that that cliché was meant for.

One of the main messages that Senator Barack Obama has been touting as part of his campaign is that he is the candidate of change. He says that he wants to change how we do things, and he wants to change the level of influence that power brokers have on the goings-on in D.C. I believe that he is as sincere as any other politician making promises during an election season. Here's my take on today's politicians: I believe that they are all whores for special interest groups. I include Obama in that category, so you see what I think about his promises of change.

Before I digress any further, let me state why I'm bringing up Obama here. If Obama really wants to lessen the impact that power brokers have on Washington, then eliminating the Dept. of Education and transferring control of our schools to the state level is one of those ways to affect change. As with health care, the states are closer to their citizens than bureaucrats in D.C. would be, so the state level is better qualified to know the educational needs of their students.

With power over health care (as a national health care plan would be) and education (as it is now) concentrated into one D.C. location, it makes it much easier for the power brokers and those with political and sociological ideologues to implement their agendas onto our society. To dilute their power and influence, we need to remove the one central location paradigm that they favor. We then need to spread out control over health care and education so that they have to tackle 50 state capitals instead of one federal capital. That way, if these political and sociological ideologues still want to implement their agendas, then they'd have to work a lot harder in doing it. I think it's a pretty good idea to make things difficult as we can for those with less-than-noble intentions, don't you?

I also favor tuition vouchers for the poor. I know all of the old arguments against it, both from the left and the right. The left says that it will take money away from public schools that need it. But the public schools are not doing their job, and the best way to prod them into doing better is to give them competition. If the public schools do better, then more parents will be more likely to let their kids stay there. If they don't do better, then the poor deserve better in terms of education, and if it comes through private schools, then so be it. Our desire should be that our kids get educated one way or the other.

The right says that allowing tuition vouchers will allow the government to step in and control private and parochial schools. We have, however, a precedent in this. After World War II, the gov't had the GI Bill, which allowed the nation's soldiers to go to the college of their choice - public or private. The soldiers got their education, and the gov't didn't have to step in and control the schools - they let the schools handle the education of their students. That's the way it worked then, and there's no reason why it can't work that way now.

And last is the argument that "it's the government's money" that is being given back. Wrong. It's our money. What a tuition voucher would become, then, is a limited-use tax refund. A tax refund is yours totally, right? To do with as you please, without gov't influence. The same with a tuition voucher - for you to do with as you please, so long as it is spent at an educational institution.

A tuition voucher plan will take some time to implement, especially since there's so much resistance against it. But if done correctly, I think it will ultimately be the best plan. Our future literally depends upon us making the right choice, and a tuition voucher gives us the option to decide for ourselves - after all, the "right to choose" should not be limited to just abortion.

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