Pro-Choice in Education
There’s a certain, rancid incongruity in the phenomenon that so many folks who attach value to the freedom to kill unborn children also find abhorrent any movement toward freedom of choice in the education of the children who do make it into our world. If it can’t be dead, let it be dumb.
We’ll save the matter of abortion for another day. Today, we’re excited that New York Congressman Vito Fossella (Rep. – 13th C.D.) has introduced legislation to empower a right-to-choose that every parent should love – a tax credit of up to $4,500 per family for elementary and secondary education tuition paid or incurred by the taxpayer during the taxable year. Private non-sectarian school, or Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or other religious school. Parents’ choice, unconditionally.
There’s nothing in this simple bill not to like, unless you’re a government school union leach with a track record of imprisoning working folks’ kids in failed urban and increasingly failing suburban government schools to keep stoked-up the union full-employment gravy train. That’s why the bill enjoys the co-sponsorship of 26 Congressmen, including New York Congressman Edolphus Towns (Dem. - 10th C.D.), representing one of the City’s most chronically under-performing government school territories.
In addition to directly benefiting families and children, the bill would benefit indirectly the single most important source of alternative education to working families’ children – the parish schools of the Catholic Church. That benefit would not be a preference for Catholic schools, but merely a step toward reversing the destructive forces that government has long unleashed on Catholic (and other private) schools. For decades, state governments have been increasing subsidies (non-locally raised funds) to government schools, including for higher teacher salaries, perversely in proportion to the extent to which such schools returned poor results. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has helped make it fashionable to have high-powered Park Avenue-set fundraisers to benefit government schools. Simultaneously, the Catholic Church’s self-inflicted financial wounds, on top of declining demographics, and declining enrollment in many places, have hobbled the Church’s ability to match its traditional subsidizing of parish schools, and to raise the funds for its schools locally. Catholic schools have been forced to close, and surviving parish schools forced to raise tuition. Bright-but-poorer students are being pushed back to government schools. And the gap between the Church’s lay teacher’s salaries and taxpayer-funded public school teacher’s salaries grows. Still, the urban Church schools turn out a superior education at far less cost than government schools, and on an equally non-discriminatory basis.
This bill needs and deserves your support, whether or not you have kids. Go to http://www.house.gov/writerep/ to find your representative in Congress, and send an e-mail urging support for H.R. 5230 (To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against tax for qualified elementary and secondary education tuition).
ADDENDUM: Congressman Edolphus Towns Reneges
Today’s (June 2, 2006) New York Sun reports that Congressman Towns’ office has told the Sun that Towns’ co-sponsorship of H.R. 5230 was a mistake – the work of an unknown rogue staffer. Also the work of an unknown rogue staffer was Towns’ signature on a letter dated May 23, 2006 jointly signed with Congressman Fossella, and sent to all 435 Members of the House, urging support for the bill.