Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hey, I'm back, and I brought Leonard Pitts with me

Sorry to have been away longer than expected, folks - but I'm back, and I'm bad. Well, not really - I'm just back.

Anyway, to hit the ground running, I'd like to bring up an issue that Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. brought up about public education in D.C. and whether Barack Obama is going to send his daughters there. Pitts feels - as I do - that Obama should send his kids to a private school. He feels that way, and yet he laments that it's necessary. At the end of his column, he states:

"Too many of us, I think, have made peace with the idea that public schools don't work, have come to regard it as normal that they crank out poorly educated kids, have come to accept that certain children in certain places are ineducable. But I saw the falsity of that with my own eyes while traveling the country for ''What Works,'' saw some of the nation's best students in some of its most dire places.

The failure here, then, is not the students', but ours, a failure of will and imagination. We need to reassess the things we take for granted. We need to decide that our children deserve better.

And we need to ask a simple question: If public schools are not good enough for the president's kids, what makes us think they are good enough for ours?"

I was also surprised to see actual criticism of teachers' unions in his column. I have been critical of teachers' unions for years, and they are one of the reasons that I advocate tuition vouchers. Pitts does not state his views on the matter, but it seems to me that public schools and teachers' unions are not going to be motivated to change unless they have competition to gain and retain students.

You know what? If Obama truly intends to bring change, this would be a good start. Obama, start by changing the Dept. of Education and the teachers' unions. Get them to realize that they're part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Get them to realize that their obsession with protecting themselves and their power has damaged generations of kids. Obama, you could REALLY institute change by advocating tuition vouchers. I don't buy that argument that tuition vouchers violate the church/state separation wall, because the gov't had already had a form of a tuition voucher with the GI Bill, and our school system didn't go to hell in a handbasket, did it? In fact, it helped a lot of students. Like we could do now.

If Obama can manage to get this ball rolling, then I'll start believing that he's a miracle worker.


blackink said...

JP, B.O. is no miracle worker and I'm totally, totally against vouchers. Even though I went to private schools for my last seven years of formal education.

But welcome back, my friend.

John P. Araujo said...

Hey, bro. Thanks for the welcome back! And I have to disagree that Obama is miracle worker, because if anyone can make the teachers' unions change their set-in-stone ways, it is none other than our president-elect. He pulls that off, then he IS a miracle worker!

And in regards to the voucher issue itself: Embrace the change, man - embrace the change! I'm for trying what works, and if the way schools are teaching now isn't working, then why not try another way? Like I said, it worked with the GI Bill, so why not a junior version of that?