Rich: Dueling “Moral Imperatives” On Education

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been working hard to raise achievement levels for students in his state by expanding choices in the academic marketplace. “The moral imperative to improve education is more than an economic one,” Jindal said in promoting his choice initiatives last spring. “The moral imperative to improve…

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been working hard to raise achievement levels for students in his state by expanding choices in the academic marketplace.

“The moral imperative to improve education is more than an economic one,” Jindal said in promoting his choice initiatives last spring. “The moral imperative to improve education goes to the heart of the American Dream. We have a chance to shape the kind of future we leave behind for our children and grandchildren. I believe like every generation before us, we have an obligation to leave this state better than we found it.”

Standing in Jindal’s way? The U.S. Department of Justice – which filed a lawsuit last month seeking to block Louisiana’s recently expanded choice program on the grounds it might increase “racial identifiability” at failing, government-run schools.

Jindal was livid.

“It’s incredible to me that the Justice Department is trying to use the same rules that were designed to protect kids … to help them go and get a better education (are now being used) to trap these kids in failing schools,” he said.

Jindal is right – and rightfully indignant – but he shouldn’t be surprised. In addition to choking off parental choices, a major push is underway in Washington, D.C. to dramatically expand the cost and scope of federal intervention in an education marketplace already dominated by sub-par government-run schools.

(To continue reading this piece, which was first published by USA Today, click on the “Read More …” icon below)

Howard Rich is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

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Vanguard16 September 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm

How are all these kids going to find classroom space in private schools? How will be chosen? What criteria? Too many questions. Therein, lies the rub!

Oh but, this nothing more than a tax scam anyway as exposed by the New York Times.

CNSYD September 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm


Centrist View September 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

The first consideration in school choice is transportation to get to school. Unless a child is home schooled, school choice is a moot point unless transportation is provided to the school of choice. Will the Legislature expand the school bus system to accommodate a choice of schools for bus riders?

The Colonel September 17, 2013 at 3:12 am

Many (not all) private schools have their own bus networks.

Smirks September 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm

So, what is Jindal doing to improve public schools? Oh, wait, that’s right, trying to funnel taxpayer dollars to private schools.

So, what is Jindal doing to improve public schools?

Slartibartfast September 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

As it is currently constituted, public education in SC is a dirty joke. If we could find a way to execute all the teachers certified after 1987, eliminate all the Teacher’s Aides, grind all the principals into hamburger, and nuke all the navel-gazing school boards, we might be able to make a start at improving the system. Barring that, there is no redemption for our public schools. It is a worthless enterprise.

9" September 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm

You received your education on the reservation abattoir?


Slartibartfast September 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm

“..a bloody adventure into the ‘muh-carb’..” I had forgotten that movie. Nothing quite like a senseless letting of blood. That’s kind of what I had in mind for the current English teachers.. Yes.. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Jim September 16, 2013 at 6:57 pm

You totally miss the point. Even if all you say is true, Howie and the Private School hand out crowd, have no interest in improving the public schools. They don’t care what happens to the public schools or the children in them. They want money so they can continue to send their kids to private school without sacrificing anything. They don’t want to give up the BMW, the Club Membership, the Jr. League, the Beach House or the annual cruise. They don’t think they should have to take a second job or a first job for that matter.

They just want us to pay them money.

Slartibartfast September 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Well, I think it’s more like “they want their money back.” You seem to have a lot of hostility toward people who are successful. Have you forgotten that many of these same people were once all in favor of public education, but because of the hopelessness of the POS they have been served with, who can blame them for walking away from such a failed experiment in social engineering?

EJB September 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I understand how people think giving parents a choice will improve schools and it would work but for the fact that public schools are not held accountable now how will they be with “choice”? There are roughly 700,000 school kids (public enrollment) and roughly 65,000 private school kids. It is not incomprehensible that as many as 10% of the public school kids would want to move to a private school, just seeing the numbers should show up the first problem (hint: connections and favoritism – corruption).

No one wants to wade in and work on the problems in the public schools but any type of “choice”, in order to pass legislative hurdles will have to agree not to remove money from public education. (I know, I know they can reduce class sizes, consolidate schools, etc., ect., does anyone actually believe that would really happen?) Somehow, magically the public schools are just going to shape up and fly straight? Not in this world, only in fantasy. There is serious work to be done and all the time and money spent fighting for “choice” would be much better spent performing a deadassectomy on the public schools.

Jim September 16, 2013 at 6:51 pm

The private school system does not want more children. They want more money from the children they have. They want the state to give the parents of those children money, so they can afford to pay more. The kids currently in public school would be shut out of the half a dozen decent private schools we have in SC.

And please stop calling it choice. Everyone has a choice. If parents choose to send their kid to private school, they are perfectly free to do so. No one is stopping them.

If parents believe they can’t afford it, mom can choose to give up the BMW or giant SUV and drive a used Chevy. Dad can choose to drop the country club membership. The family can choose to forgo the annual beach vacation or vacations; or maybe even sell the family beach house. Dad can take a second job. Mom can take a job or a second job. A part time job at McDonald’s or Walmart should be enough to make up the cost.

Jan September 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Certain groups in society abandoned the public schools a long time ago. In the South that occurred at the time of desegregation. Now they do not want to support those schools in any way. They do not care what happens to children who cannot afford to attend private school, because those people are not their problem.

We as a nation either need to be committed to a quality public education system or be prepared to be out performed by the children of other countries, who will have a quality public education system. Our competitors will not rely on White Flight Academies and religious schools to educate their children.

But what is even more unfair than not having a public school system at all, is setting up a public education system for poor and middle income people and pay rich and upper middle income people to send their kids to private school. Which is what every tax credit and voucher program proposed would do.

SC’s worst in the nation private schools are still private businesses. Crappy ones but still businesses. I am sure every private service business thinks people could benefit from their service. They could certainly sell more services if people could get a tax credit to pay for them. Why not a tax credit for to help people pay for other things they buy from the private sector?

Human Science September 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

Those “groups” abandoned public schools when the “government” lowered standards, and developed the progressive curriculum to be more “inclusive,” while normalizing the concept of a broken family without personal responsibility which only perpetuates itself since it is the path of least resistance. Eventually these ways and PC lead to schools that became little more than juvey detention centers. Then surprise, surprise, the better teachers fled to nicer schools, albeit the same progressive curriculum with more involved parenting, but easier for the educator to ride out to his/her pension.

Take away tax credits and vouchers that you find offensive: the parents that care will do what they have to do as they always have done. Will the government let them? The DOJ won’t speak to the impediments but will block efforts by the concerned who would like to lead the way out of the decrepitude.

Jan September 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm

This is such total nonsense. There are no impediments to sending kids to private school. If you want your kid in private school send him or her.
As for the quality of schools, I assure there are good public schools in South Carolina and everywhere. Many are better than the White Flight Academies and “Christian” schools that popped up all over the south after desegregation. I am sick an tired of you people bashing good schools and the innocent hard working children who attend them, for your own personal gain.
We can have a better Education system. It will take a lot of work, but we do not need to spend one cent of public money propping up the private school system. If private schools will agree to take students on a first come first serve basis, and make public their performance, maybe there is something to talk about. But otherwise, its just a grab for money by the people who have already abandoned the public schools.
As for the “concerned who want to lead the way out of decrepitude, I know plenty of those people; but I have yet to meet one in the so called “school choice” movement.
Every voucher/tax credit proponent I have ever spoken to at length can be summed up in one sentence. “My kids don’t even use those schools, I don’t see why I should have to pay for them.” That is the full depth of their commitment to quality education in the US.

Jan September 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Excuse me, “My kids don’t even use those schools, and I don’t see why I should have to pay for them.”

Barbarossa September 18, 2013 at 12:12 am

I asked you a question in an earlier post about this very topic you’re talking about. You didn’t answer it. So again, I ask… if hypothetically, all the parents within a District decided that they no longer wanted to send their kids to their respective public schools – and instead, were capable and desirous of sending them to private schools – should these same parents still need to also pay for the public schools, given that there would be no students in them? You know, to the extreme, that is your ridiculous argument. So, just admit that you think that they should continue to pay.. But rest assured, when you do, be prepared to be laughed off the stage for being the joke, NEA Kool-Aid drinker, Educrat Swindler that you are. Got you fool!

Human Science September 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

Jan- There are no impediments to using private schools other than tuition costs, logistics, and demographics for some. My point was what are the impediments to public education improving? Certainly not the money we throw at it, although maybe the allocation of that money? IF public school impediments were corrected, a lot of concerned parents would return their children to them. And in some districts, they never left. However, some parents will rightly decry that their tax dollars fund those failing public schools while they send their children elsewhere. But the fact that they do not get the vouchers or tax credits they desire does not stop at least the wealthier among them. It does limit those on a tighter budget who want better for their kids and are willing to make education a priority rather than sacrifice their future.

Should it become like a Medicare track where everyone gets an acceptable level of care (public school into a tech college) but for greater coverage (Charter school, private school, home schooling, etc..,into University) one must have a Medigap policy (voucher, tax credit, or a subsidy for those with the appropriate scholastic record but of more limited means)?

Further, many of those self-same people who send their children elsewhere happen to be progressive liberals/DC elites. Clearly this is not entirely if at all a Repub-Dem, rich-poor, have versus have not problem. For the truly wealthy it will always be a non-issue no matter the stripe.

Lowcorider September 17, 2013 at 8:26 am

Rich and his Tea Party minions want to offer tax breaks to the same folks they claim pay no taxes. WTF?
Oh well I guess the little greedy Yankee bastard helps maintain this site.

nitrat September 17, 2013 at 10:23 am

I’m not going to waste my time going to USA Today.
Did Howie mention the role of the Louisiana Supreme Court in shooting down Jindal’s schools scams?

BIN News Editorial Staff September 17, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Howie the Voucher Clown is such a voucher pimp.

He cares nothing about helping all kids. Just helping a few.

His voucher scam would only leave those who need help the most even further behind.

Howie and his voucher pimps don’t really care about the real problems facing public education.

They don’t care about poverty.

They don’t care about the Corridor of Shame:


They don’t care about the host of social problems facing families that don’t resemble his. You know: white, wealthy, privileged, lucky.

His voucher scam would do nothing to help resolve the real problems facing kids who need help the most.

That’s why vouchers are a scam, and voucher supporters are voucher pimps.

BIN News Editorial Staff
Flair, Flare and Balanced


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