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The Secretary is Full of It!

Secretary of Education Rod Paige, maker of Texas education "miracles", has declared that the DC voucher program, which doesn’t begin until next fall, will offer "emancipation" to the students participating in the experiement. Dr. Paige offered a number of other applause lines for his audience, including one I agree with, "This plan must be given every chance to work."

However, Dr. Paige also had a couple of other comments that I take issue with.

Paige said the experiment "isn’t about dismantling the public school system. And this isn’t a plan to federalize the schools." Rather, he said, it is a means to offer choice to those who couldn’t afford it otherwise.

No, this isn’t about federalizing the schools, it’s about privatizing them. The same thing W and his friends want to do with every part of government short of the military. But the part of his remarks that really piss me off are these.

"When students are required by law to attend a particular school, the school doesn’t have to do anything to secure quality or produce scholarship," Paige said. "It just has to open the door and collect the local and state stipend for each student."

So according to our national "educational" leader (and I’m being very charitable with that phrase), those of us who work for a public school system are simply sitting around, drinking coffee and waiting for the next check to arrive from Washington or Richmond. Dr. Paige believes public schools have a "monopoly" and therefore no one is even trying to improve student learning. I don’t think I’ve heard a bigger piece of crap out of a national leader in years. Not even his boss’ remark this week that "the illiteracy level of our children are appalling".

Update (1/30/04) – Jeff at So You Want to be a Science Teacher has some thoughts on what Paige means in his use of the word "emancipation" and how it ties to NCLB. You can bet the term wasn’t chosen by accident.


  1. David C

    I believe that teachers, like many other Americans, take pride in there work and try to do the best job that they can. I also think that many districts, like other government agencies are run poorly. I can’t believe that more government could possibly help. I guess what bothers me most is that I see a whole bunch of complaining about NCLB and the state of public education, but I don’t see anyone offering up alternatives. Is it just the funding? Would it work if the money was there? Just looking for answers. Personally, I believe that lack of parental involvement is one of the biggest factors bringing down schools today. I don’t have the answers. As a single parent of two (in two different school districts) I know it’s tough. I am not trying to offend. I just want to understand. As a future educator I’d love to know what you people, current teachers, think about the public school system. What would you do to fix it? (Asking the public for more money has not worked around here!)

  2. chett

    Greetings! I respectfully disagree with Mr. Stahmer’s post. Here’s my response, posted at ReformK12.com:

    “Criticism of Vouchers, Defense of Monopoly”

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