PRESS RELEASE – MARCH 11, 2018
Contact: David White: 973-372-8637
David Challenges Goliath
“David of Newark,” as the late talk show pioneer Bob Grant used to introduce him, is calling on fellow New Jerseyans to challenge the Goliath of our time – the Progressive Ruling Class. David White, cofounder of Alliance for Free Choice in Education, who has devoted his life to the cause of civil rights, and represents CORE in New Jersey, is calling on New Jersey voters to wisely invest their vote in the coming Primary on June 5. “Don’t throw away your vote in support of ‘Progressives.’ Although they all take the sacred oath to uphold the Constitution, they actually do the very opposite. Our corrupt, broken educational system stands as exhibit number one.
“Lawful governments don’t condemn their poor minority children to dangerous schools and massive child abuse that is kept hidden from the public. There is overwhelming evidence that fraud is routinely employed to keep the true facts from the public.[i] Parents of the children are kept misinformed, and even blamed for the failures of a system bereft of the most basic educational principles![ii]
“The Progressive Ruling Class, and their media collaborators, will not deal with the greatest domestic crisis of our time – a failed educational system that is destroying our society from within. Instead, they constantly splatter mud on the duly elected President who promised to implement school choice, which will quickly fix it. They know that school choice will drain the trough that enriches and empowers them, which is why they stand in the way.[iii]
“The New Media now provides every New Jersey adult and student the opportunity to combat this evil with words of support for ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ All in Congress have already taken the oath in support of the Constitution. Our task is to inform them that our votes depend on their honoring this oath by quickly sponsoring the proposed ‘Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity.’[iv]
“Progressives have done to our educational system precisely that which they seek to do to our government and all aspects of society. They seek maximum control, in order to enrich and empower themselves. They will say and do whatever it takes to achieve this, even if they have to bring down a duly elected President.
“Tyranny flourishes wherever we allow it to. Far too many of us have given up on this top-down system. However, we can no longer allow our country to be tossed into the ash heap of history. We need to hold Congress accountable by pledging our votes for those who sponsor the bill to end this tyranny.
“Just as the Declaration of Independence served to launch the greatest United States in history, so will this bill, confirming those rights, lead us in that direction. Passage of the Civil Rights bill of our time will undo the damage of a century of Progressivism, which was designed to replace the Constitution. As explained by President Woodrow Wilson at the dawn of the 20th century, ‘The old political formulas do not fit the present problems; they read now like documents taken out of a forgotten age.’[v]
“This gave rise to the most massive power grab in American history, which resulted in an educational system in the hands of incompetent, and unaccountable ‘Progressives,’ who have regressed us back to the times of slavery, albeit of a different kind. How else can one describe the rich getting richer, on the backs of poor children who suffer daily in schools where excellent education is the exception, rather than the rule?
“Congress, and leading government agencies, are behaving like tyrants drunk with power, who absolutely refuse to accept the responsibility for the confused and misguided society they have created. It is the responsibility of every member of society to do our share to hold Congress responsible to earn our votes. Anything less renders us partners in crime.
“Do your Representatives in Congress (202-224-3121) support the bill? If not, is there a challenger in this Primary who does? If so, let’s team up to take back our government and set it back onto the Constitutional Track. The Alliance can be reached at Israel@SchoolChoiceNJ.org or 973-820-6121.
______________________________ ______________________________ ____________________
Israel Teitelbaum is cofounder of Alliance for Free Choice in Education. He can be reached at Israel@SchoolChoiceNJ.org or 973-820-6121. David White, cofounder of the Alliance, is available for press and talk show interviews at 973-372-8637.
[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=PVNC_R260pA
https://www.washingtonpost. com/local/dc-politics/dc- public-schools-were-once-a- success-story-are-they-now-an- embarrassment/2018/02/01/ fb15dd4c-069d-11e8-b48c- b07fea957bd5_story.html?utm_ term=.ff90840833a8
[ii] https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=cLiDFFvwkbQ
[iii] http://www.hoover.org/sites/ default/files/research/docs/ finnsousa_whatliesahead_final_ ch9.pdf
[iv] http://www. conservativenewsandviews.com/ 2018/01/04/constitution/ president-wilson-trump-make- america-great-again/
[v] https://online.hillsdale.edu/ document.doc?id=318
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School Vouchers Turn 50 But the Fight is Just Beginning
by Milton Friedman
Elementary and secondary education is, on one level, an industry like all others, with schools producing a service that is consumed by the nation’s children. On another level, elementary and secondary education is unique, an industry on which the whole of society rests. As I wrote in 1955, "a stable and democratic society is impossible without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens and without widespread acceptance of some common set of values." That is why government plays such a major role in schooling. It compels attendance in school. Taxpayers pay the bulk of the costs of schooling. Government owns and operates most of the schools.
Government ownership and operation of schools alter fundamentally the way the industry is organized. In most industries, consumers are free to buy the product from anyone who offers it for sale, at a price mutually agreed on. In the process, consumers determine how much is produced and by whom and producers have an incentive to satisfy their customers. These competitive private industries are organized from the bottom up. They have been responsible for truly remarkable economic growth, improvements in products and increased efficiency in production.
In elementary and secondary education, government decides what is to be produced and who is to consume its products, generally assigning students to schools by their residence. The only recourse for dissatisfied parents is through political channels, changing their residence or forswearing the government subsidy and paying for their children’s schooling twice, once in taxes and once in tuition. Parents of more than 10 percent of all students, who go to private schools or are schooled at home, have adopted this final recourse. In short, this industry is organized from the top down.
Performance differs as much as organization. In sharp contrast to other major industries, there has been little, no or even negative improvement in the product. Children are taught the way they have been for centuries. Functional literacy is very likely lower than it was a century ago. And we spend more per student, in real dollars corrected for inflation, than we ever have before and more than any other country does now. Top-down organization works no better in the United States than it did in the Soviet Union or East Germany.
The prescription is clear. Change the organization of elementary and secondary schooling from top-down to bottom-up. Convert to a system in which parents choose the schools their children attend—or, more broadly, the educational services their children receive, whether in a brick-and-mortar school or on DVDs or over the Internet or whatever alternative the ingenuity of man can conceive. Parents would pay for educational services with whatever subsidy they receive from the government plus whatever sum they want to add out of their own resources. Producers would be free to enter or leave the industry and would compete to attract students. As in other industries, such a competitive free market would lead to improvements in quality and reductions in cost.
The problem is how to get from here to there. That is where vouchers come in. They offer a means for a gradual transition from top-down to bottom-up. However, not just any voucher program will do. In particular, the kind of voucher programs that have been enacted so far will not. Almost all of them have been limited, directly or indirectly, to low-income families and some have not permitted parents to add on to the voucher, thereby limiting the tuition that can be charged. They are what I have called charity vouchers, not educational vouchers. They have served their limited purpose well. The families that received them have benefited; the educational performance of the voucher schools has been better than of the government schools from which the voucher students came. And the educational performance of those government schools has improved.
Even if such vouchers were much more widespread than they are now, they could not provide the kind of market needed to stimulate innovative experimentation. It is as if when automobiles or television were in their infancy the government had prohibited charging more than a very low price. One function played by the rich is to finance innovation. They bought the initial cars and TVs at high prices and thereby supported production while the cost was being brought down, until what started out as a luxury good for the rich became a necessity for the poor.
An educational voucher of reasonable size, though less than the current government spending per student, that was available to all students regardless of income or race or religion and that did not prohibit add-ons or impose detailed regulations on start-up service providers would end up helping the poor more than a charity voucher — not instantly, but after a brief period as competition did its work. Just as the breakup of the Ma Bell monopoly led to a revolution in communications, a breakup of the school monopoly would lead to a revolution in schooling.
There has been some progress toward charity vouchers but almost none toward educational vouchers. The reason, I believe, is that centralization, bureaucratization and unionization have enabled teachers’ union leaders and educational administrators to gain effective control of government elementary and secondary schools. The union leaders and educational administrators rightly regard extended parental choice through vouchers and tax-funded scholarships as the major threat to their monopolistic control. So far, they have been extremely successful in blocking any significant change in the structure of elementary and secondary education in the United States.
The teachers’ unions have used their large income (estimated at more than $1.5 billion – that’s billion not million) and large membership to gain a major role in the Democratic Party. Teacher union delegates have been a significant fraction of all delegates to Democratic political conventions. They have made opposition to vouchers a key plank in the party’s mantra. The unions also have succeeded in persuading most teachers that it is in their self-interest to retain the current dysfunctional system.
Both these pillars of power rest on shaky ground. The Democratic Party professes, in the words of Sen. Edward Kennedy, "to give voice to the voiceless." But the "voiceless," among whom are surely the residents of low-income areas in big cities, are clearly the main victims of the present schooling system and would be major beneficiaries of a more competitive educational system. Every poll shows them to be strongly in favor of vouchers, yet their political leaders hew to the party line rather than giving voice to the educational needs of the voiceless.
Similarly, teachers in government schools, especially the more competent ones, would be among the major beneficiaries of a transition to an educational system dominated by competition and choice. Under the present system, not much more than half of the money spent on government schools goes to teachers in the classroom. The rest goes to administrators, advisors, consultants and the whole paraphernalia of non-teaching bureaucrats. In private schools, the bulk of the spending ends up in the classroom. Equally important, teaching conditions are more attractive in private schools, as judged by the higher turnover in government schools despite higher average pay.
Such shaky foundations cannot indefinitely support a system that is so clearly defective, that is inconsistent with the self-image of the Democratic Party and that is against the self-interest of most teachers in government schools.
I have been saying this for some years now and so far I have been wrong. However, I am not discouraged. Public support for educational vouchers is growing. More and more states are considering proposals for vouchers or tax-funded scholarships. Pressure is building behind each of the 50 dams erected by the special interests. Most major public policy revolutions come only after a lengthy build-up of support. But when the break comes, what had been politically impossible quickly becomes politically inevitable.