Thursday, June 03, 2010

EducationUSA: School Choice: New Jersey Governor becomes outstanding voice for school kids and parents

Christie speaks in Washington DC, calling Newark schools 'absolutely disgraceful'
 -- thanks to Newark-Star Ledger via Heritage Foundation for video !  See also Catrholic Online editorial regarding Gov Christie's speech.

It took 80 years in the Netherlands -- in what is called "the School Wars" -- for the establishment of a genuinely pluralist school-policy. I know of no jurisdiction in North America that has embraced a principled pluralist approach.
The School Struggle or Schoolstrijd [was] a historical conflict in the Netherlands between 1848 and 1917 over the equalization of public financing for religious schools. The Protestant and Catholic parties, the ARP and CHU and the Algemeene Bond respectively, wanted their religious schools to receive financing equal to that received by [atheist] public schools; while maintaining their freedom in for example curriculum policy, teacher appointments etc. that came with their religious tradition. Liberals tried to protect the privileged financial position of public schools. The conflict lasted from 1888 to 1917, when it was resolved in the pacificatie. (Wapedia article "School struggle.")
  The Pacification of 1917 is an event in Dutch politics. In 1917 the constitution was changed by the extra-parliamentary cabinet led by Pieter Cort van der Linden in order to resolve the antithesis between religious and secular parties. It implemented both universal suffrageproportional representation and equal payment for religious schools.
With this historical background to school pluralization, freedom of association, and equal payment in mind, we can look at the historically regressive situation in the USA and Canada.  Read more ...

In the United States the problem had been exacerbated by the earlier entrenched system in many states of the racial segregation of children and teenagers in the public schools, a pattern that emerged in the long stretch after the Civil War and was re-invigorated by the administration of President Woodrow Wilson on the Federal level when he imposed a racial segregationist regime in the USA Army and Federal bureaucracy.

On the level of the states, racial segregation of schools became part of a larger and national pattern. Of course, there is nothing in principle wrong with a minority community's desire to develop its group's distinct cultural identity thru "separate but equal" schooling institutions where it is competent to do so (without the competence such an endeavour produces a ghetto in schooling), but that freedom of association for group-cultural ends became moot. It was the general economic and literacy situation of the racial minority (a minority in many cases only when population demographics were considered on a state or national level, but not necessarily a minority when considered on a more local level immediately relevant to a Board of Education), economics and literacy of the local majority (tho a state and national minority) meant that separate schooling proved itself mostly inimical to education of the kids and teenagers. This is what the White minority locally, but in alliance with its status as part of the states' and nation's White majority, worked educationally to entrench the disadvantaging of  Black youth.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schoolsfor black and white students and denying black children equal educational opportunities unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which permitted segregation. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This victory paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement. (Wikipedia article "Brown v Board of Education") 
Beginning with President Dwight Eisenhower in 1957, when he sent Federal troops to prevent the continued racial segregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, an event that was immediately valuable but which dramatically turned also the tide which resulted eventually in a widespread skewering of the principle of pluralism in American schooling.  The President did not send troops to prevent African-Americans from maintaining group-cultural-oriented separate-and-equal schools for their kids and teenagers, in those cases when parents later wanted to use their freedom of association and their tax contributions for a minority's special needs and desired outcomes.

The next landmark to mention is the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act  (against which Sen Barry Goldwater voted in the pre-history of the contemporary Libertarian political movement, an approach re-articulated recently by the Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate, Dr Ron Paul). 
The 1964 law largely was beneficial to extending the equal-protection-of-the-law clause in the Amerian constitution.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public ("public accommodations.") 
Once the Act was implemented, its effects were far-reaching and had tremendous long-term impacts on the whole country. It prohibited discrimination in public facilities, in government, and in employment, invalidating the Jim Crow laws in the southern U.S. It became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring. (Wikipedia article "Civil Rights Act of 1964").
But over the years under the use and exploitation of the 1964 provisions, by the left ideological movement in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Education Association (NEA, the teachers union), African American local majorities had become trapped, in schools that de-educated that community's oncoming generation/s, whenever they sawt financial support for a pluralization of schooling by means of freedom of association for that purpose.

As in all communities that freely group themselves by race, wealthy African Americans have always been able to pay out of their bank accounts the costs of nonpublic schooling for their youth. Wealth gives them choice, and often they have supported distinctive colleges and universities of Black heritage (television and film celebrity, Bill Cosby, is famous for his support of these h+er ed institutions of African American inspiration).

The state (that is, govt whether on the local, state, or federal level) shoud financially support all schooling, whether it be organized by the state itself or by freely associating citizens, grouping themselves in distinctive organizations and institutions for the explicit purpose of educating youth. The only exception to freedom of association woud be educating youth in organizations / institutions devoted to undermining the constitutions of the USA and/or the particular state, or preparing students for violence against the USA/state in which the schooling takes place.

These broad principles put the youth -- children and teenagers -- first. The state provides the necessary funds from the taxes it raises from the general population. Families with more children than the statistical norm thereby woud benefit more. Hence, the reason for support from taxation is important because it prioritizes the number of youth who benefit; it thereby redistributes a bit the wealth of individuals and families (including those with few or no children). My friend Gregory Baus may dissent from my view, which I share with most reformationals in the Netherlands, Canada, and the USA.

It's my understanding of the position of Governor Chris Christie that his stance before the American Federation for Children's policy assemblage in Washington DC -- April 22, 2k10 -- is predicated upon concern for children of parent/s who cannot afford a Christian education for their children, but who desperately desire one. He wants to provide equal protection of the law to childrten trapped in failing public schools, by providing equal funding to schools that their parent/s deem superiour educationally to those of the state. Gov Christie was himself educated in Catholic schools, and he with his wife were able to afford Catholic schooling for their own chldren. But he is aware that many other parents and chldren cannot afford anything beyond the educational traps of the govt system in places like Newark, New Jersey.

In one speech to the Federation he has pole-vaulted to political leadership of the School Choice movement in America, whether he wants that role or not. We can only hope and pray he takes up this additional role, and can prevail over the enemies that already are claw-and-fang against him -- like the New Jersey union of public-school teachers, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Sadly, there's a strong contrast between Gov. Christie and a fellow Catholic political leader, Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario, Canada, who has likewise benefited from Catholic education, along with his wife and children; but in their case, the state here has always paid the load for their large families. This is because the Catholic system, but no others (with the exception of the atheist public schools),  are constitutionally entrenched with "denominational r+ts." McGuinty in his successful second campaign actually rebuffed citizens who want educational freedom and equality; he targetted them to render them second-class citizens, to maintain the Catholic hegemony outside state atheist schooling. This bigoted (and in the end contradictory) stand for the status quo in Ontario education, actually violated a UN Human R+ts finding that the present arrangement is discriminatory in the worst sense.
What's more, McGuinty's stand is antithetical to the human r+ts teaching of Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec City, who is Primate of the Roman Catholic bishops in Canada, and who has caused an explosion in his province by advocating that the govt shoud fund equally the pro-abortion and pro-life moral communities in service to the alternative needs of women in the province and federal jurisdiction, also in the latter's possible outlays to Third World countries for abortions there. But, again sadly, the Primate does not stand up for Protestant Christians and those of other faiths who may wish to choose an alternative for their youth in the sphere of schooling.

I have in mind a network of schools of Protestant-Christian inspiration, organized mostly in the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS), whose participating schools have long asked for equal funding on a per student basis, equal with the Catholic and atheist school systems, both of which are financed by the state, the Province of Ontario. The OACS schools are a cultural projectr of Dutch Protestant-Christians who immigrated to Ontario from the Netherlands, mostly after WWII.  It seems to me that OACS woud have grounds to sue the Ontario govt in the International Criminal Court for the sums denied them over the decades.

Fortunately, Gov Christie of New Jersey does not find in his situation nor in the leadership role he m+t give in the USA, the peculiar conflicts of Catholicism and its political leaders in the pulic realm in Ontario.

-- Politicarp

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