Thursday, January 19, 2006

School Choice Heats Up:

Last week I wrote a post, “Trying to keep good kids down”, that mentioned Governor Pataki’s brave and smart idea to give tax credits to families who would like to send their children to private school but can’t afford to do so. At that time Randi Weingarten, head of the UFT, immediately came out attacking the plan because it would obviously create competition for her inefficient teacher system.

Yesterday a new voice threw his hat into the ring and he goes by the name of Elliot Spitzer. Spitzer, as being reported by the New York Sun, commented on the constitutionality of giving tax credits for private school. When he says constitutionality he is referring to the Blaine Amendment that passed the House of Representatives in 1875. Despite falling short in the Senate most states including New York have adopted it for their states constitution. The Blaine Amendment originally was a well-known 19th century attempt to stop the rise of the Roman Catholic Church and their schools. The Amendment stated that no money or land raised by the state could be devoted to a religious sect.

This brings up some interesting questions. How could a liberal state like New York with a Senator like Hillary Clinton, who accuses Republicans of discrimination, allow the Blaine Amendment on their books? Are they not embarrassed that such discriminatory legislation that was proposed during a period of rampant discrimination against many groups is one of the building blocks of their states constitution? Based on what Democrats claim to stand for, I would expect such legislation would be on the books of those hate mongering southern states, not a liberal loving, peace on earth, fighting for the discriminated against, northern state like New York! Here’s a question the Observer could ask Hillary and Elliot the next time they do lunch, “So (fill in name here) do you think an amendment that was passed in the eighteen hundreds to knowingly stop the spread of Catholicism should be overturned?” I won’t hold my breath.

I would also like to make a point that I believe the whole idea of separation of church and state, has been dramatically exploited by the left. Doesn’t our constitution also call for freedom of religion? How does a country like the U.S. and state like New York, claim freedom of religion when they pass laws like the Blaine Amendment that are obvious attempts to prevent it?

If I’m a parent of a child and cannot afford to exercise my right of freedom of religion by sending my child to catholic school because my money in the form of taxes is being diverted to the public school system, how is that not discrimination? By forcing me to pay for a public school seat the state is not allowing me to exercise my right to send my child to private school.

Democrats argument against school vouchers, tax credits or whatever you want to call them, is not a matter of separation of church and state but a continuous attack on the idea of God playing a part in peoples lives. Democrats need to stop the hypocrisy and start respecting that there are people who don’t want their money to go to a public school seat but a private school one. Lets see what Elliot has to say about that one.

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