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Friday, January 27, 2006

Bad Charlie!

As everyone knows, Charlie Sykes is my hero when it comes to talk radio. Well, Charlie has been a bad, bad, boy lately. At least by the reaction to a bit that he and one of his engineers came up with.

Let's face it, when the NAACP starts holding news conferences to discuss what you've been up to, it can't be good, or can it?

A week or so ago Charlie came up with a bit on his show, aimed at Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and his refusal to lift the enrollment caps for the states School Choice Voucher program.
(listen here). The reaction on the left has been, lets say less than enthusiastic, in fact Charlie is now known as "Charlie Sykes, captain of the neo-con zombie brigade"...

It was subsequently turned into a TV ad by "The Coalition for Families", which really has folks fuming. Evidently telling a liberal democrat he's blocking the door to decent education, ala the segregationists in the 1960's doesn't go over so well.

Wisconsin has one of the longest running and most successful school choice programs in the country. There have, like any program been problems with it, but overall a lot of kids in failing schools are going to much better ones. Unfortunately, the enrollment limits on it are being hit, and the governor refuses to sign a bill to raise them.

Guess who this irks the most? Not inner city parents, not the kids going to the schools. The two most annoyed groups are those who can't get their kids into the program because of enrollement limits, and WEAC, the Wisconsin teachers union. Of those two groups, guess who gives the governor and Democrats the big bucks come election time.

Some of the things the NAACP's Milwaukee President said are actually kind of amusing, if you think about it:
In contrast, in 2005 Governor Doyle stated before the NAACP National Convention last summer that we have made much progress but victory cannot be
declared until we “are free from segregated neighborhoods and discrimination and
until opportunity is truly equal for everyone.” These are not the words of a segregationist.
If they truly believe that, wouldn't they want more kids getting into better schools, thus integrating more, and segregating less? Isn't that how opportunity would would become truly equal, when one could go to whatever school they wanted?

Governor Doyle vetoed a bill that would have made it more difficult for minority children to sue companies for damages caused by lead paint poisoning.

Actually, the bill required you to know who manufactured something before you could sue. And it applies to everyone, not just minorities. Under a rather odd ruling by the state supreme court if you get lead poisining, you can sue ANY paint maker from the era the paint was made. No requirment to show that manufacturer caused your problem. (Opinion Journal has a great article about this issue here. )

In closing I want to say this –one of the major obstacles facing the voucher movement is the fear that there are no standards, no way to hold official accountable. There’s a fear that some leaders lack responsibility, and the character necessary to educate our kids. The reprehensible comparison of Governor Doyle to segregationist governors only serves to highlight the program’s failures.

Actually, they failed to mention in their other talking points (Many oddly similar to those of the teachers union) that the Governor has signed legislation to tighten controls on the Voucher program, and hold those running Choice schools to a higher level of accountability.

The fear they talk about does exist. However, by the number trying to get into the Choice program, that fear isn't of vouchers, the fear is of the Milwaukee Public School system, and other domains of WEAC power and influence.

The comparison is necessary, because it's brought this issue to the forefront. School Choice Program has had problems, but they are minor when compared with decades of substandard graduates coming out of the public school system in Milwaukee.

The real problem is civil rights leaders, who for political reasons, will allow those they supposedly serve to remain in substandard schools. When they work to keep the program limited and closed, instead of trying to improve it and expand opportunities, that is a problem.

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Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

School Choice is a big soapbox for me. A lot of pressure needs to be put on this Governor to do the right thing. Somehow we need to break the supreme control the teacher's unions have over this issue.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Finally Bob, a voice of truth and reason. Thanks.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

LMC- One good thing, Governor Doyle has so many scandals hanging over his head that he's probably a lame duck. The state Democratic party hasn't started bailing on him, yet, but if anymore indictments of his staff come down, they probably will. Both GOP candidates in the state have said they would lift the caps.

Mike, thanks. I'm not sure rank and file teachers are against choice, just their union bosses.

5:34 AM  

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