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THINKING ALLOWED


Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Mr. J. Bush and Reasoning

North Miami Beach, FL 02-23-2005
A.H. Schectman

I shouldn’t say that Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, does not reason.  He reasons very well but is wrong headed like most of his tribe and the Conservatives he consorts with. We have learned that Mr. Bush plans to offer more VOUCHERS to “failed” readers in PUBLIC schools so they can use them to pay for a PRIVATE/PAROCHIAL school education purported to be better where they are sure to succeed.  The reasoning here is audacious as well as suspicious.  What do Private/Parochial Schools have that will make them more successful than Public Schools where these students have failed FCAT reading tests for three consecutive years? Mr. Bush reasons that the Public Schools have failed entirely although he and all of us know that those schools have been starved and punished because of the backgrounds of their students. It might be FCAT tests are not the be all and end all.

One of Mr. Bush’s rationales is his decision to implement his plan to take money from one system and give it to another system in order to “Leave No Child Behind”. That this will be achieved is faulty reasoning. Not only are the schools where students failed in reading failures but the teachers in those schools must have failed also. Some schools have been left behind. There is the belief here that those students must have been ignored or badly taught or that the poverty of the schools was such that no one could have gotten a good education.  Perhaps the reasoning also includes the idea that if the failed students were separated from the successful students left behind in Public institutions, that those schools, lighter by their removal, could get on with the business of earning better ratings. We must wonder how the PRIVATE/PAROCHIAL Schools can take such poor material and guarantee success with it. It may be that VOUCHER money has a special quality that immediately improves the student performance under optimum or, at least, better conditions.

I think (therefore I am different from the Governor) that this money, denied to “failed” schools is PUBLIC money and should not be turned over to Private entrepreneurial schools. Also, there is a vast difference between Parochial schools and the traditional PUBLIC school where Americans learned about democracy. The Parochial schools teach religion and both Private and Parochial schools teach exclusivity and elitism.  Instead of schools where all are assumed to be equal the direction in Conservative government is to divide chaff from wheat and the best and brightest from the dullest and ordinary.

Mr. Bush’s reasoning is flawed the way too many Americans are flawed in their quest for the best for their children.  They are willing to live and educate in walled enclaves to separate themselves from the poor, the immigrant and the unlucky. Mr. Bush reasons well but not as the Governor of ALL Floridians.

 


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