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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Marco Rubio pitches the destruction of public schools

Now he phrased it differently but make no mistake that is what he is pitching. In last night’s response to the State of the union in between, if you work really, really, really hard you can accomplish anything and Obama sucks, out!!! He pitched the idea of nationwide universal vouchers.

He says this is about parental choice, not privatization, administrators, teachers or unions but what he fails to acknowledge is parents already have numerous choices. They can home school, they can make sacrifices and send their children to private schools or they can do what parents all through time have done and that is get involved with their children’s schools. Parents have always had the choice to fight for the change they want to see or not. Mr. Rubio is advocating for welfare something he usually rails against and laziness, which goes against his if you work, really, really, really hard you can accomplish anything mantra. Instead of advocating the destruction of our public schools he should at the very least be advocating for more parental involvement.

Perhaps even more blaring is he fails to acknowledge that public education is for all of us not just for parents and their children. I hear pretty regularly from voucher proponents that they pay taxes towards education so they should get to determine where that money goes. You know I pay taxes towards our defense and dozens of other things but I have to use my voice to help determine policy and voucher proponents should have to do the same. Furthermore every time one of these parents chime in demanding tax dollars be spent on vouchers I remind them that men and women who don’t have children also chip for public education. We all pay into a big pot and where I might not like every choice my government makes, since I have agreed to join society rather than swing alone from the trees this is the tradeoff I have made.

Rubio fails to see that public education is for all. He obviously doesn’t understand that the better and stronger it is the better and stronger all of society is. When we seek to dilute it or pull resources away from it, especially when they are funded into dubious efforts, see the evidence on vouchers and charters, kids that get them or go to them don’t perform better than kids in public schools, it hurts us all.

At the end of the day Mr. Rubio is trying to put a pretty bow on vouchers, which have the chance to harm us all, whether we have a child who takes one or not. His position is made worse because evidence shows that children who take them don’t perform better than their public school counterparts and made worse because many of the schools that receive vouchers don’t have the same rigorous certification standards or accountability measures. These are pesky facts Senator Rubio ignored as he played the parental choice card.

Instead of advocating for the destruction of public education, arguably that institution which built our nation and made us great Rubio should be calling for strengthening and improving education. That should be something we should all be able to get behind whether we have kids in school or not.

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