As I sat and watched the oral arguments Monday over vouchers in Marion County Superior Court all I could think is why do teachers unions continue to fight reform? Why do they continue to want to deny parents and their kids the opportunity to get a decent education? And for a bunch of people who say they care about kids, their actions sure don’t match their words.
Take Indiana’s school voucher program, for example. The attorney for the teachers union argued that the voucher law was unconstitutional because the main beneficiary of the vouchers were the private, religious schools. Huh? I thought the primary beneficiary of the vouchers were the children and their parents. And as long the money goes to the parents and they make the decision where to send their child to school, I don’t see what the big problem is.
But taking the thought process of voucher opponents to its logical conclusion then government scholarships that students use to attend places like Notre Dame are illegal. A local government entity could never partner with a faith-based organization to help address societal ills such as crime, poverty and offender re-entry. You could never have a polling place in a church. Or heck, a city could not plow a street that had a church on it because the church gets a benefit and taxpayers dollars are being spent removing the snow. Of course those are ridiculous assumptions, but so is fighting to keep kids in bad schools by limiting the choices they have for an education.
The last time I checked, choice and competition tend to bring out the best in all of us, so why be afraid of it. And if these people were serious about helping kids, they would put aside their fear and take some of the energy they expend fighting choice and reform and actually offer up an idea or two on how to improve school performance.
But that would actually take more careful thought and fewer histrionics, something I am not quite sure the opponents of school reform and vouchers are quite capable of just yet.