Here they go again! More meddling of Church and State. Ohio is the newest target. Why has Ohio become the virtual dart board of the right-wing ideologues? Hell, we’ve got enough problems with our right-wing governor and GOP controlled House and Senate. Now this.
Fundamentalist Christians nationwide as well as in Ohio have been on the march to shut down the public school system for many years. They got quite a foothold back in the 90’s when they devised a plan to place fundamentalist Christians on school boards to control the agenda and to skew it towards ‘Christian values.’ A suburban school district just outside of Toledo was subjected to such a covert move in the 90’s when a school board member was ousted after attempting to manipulate the health curriculum of the district to reflect Christian values.
One of the leading proponents of tax dollars for Christian schools [aka voucher program] is Ohio Representative Barbara R. Sears, Monclova Ohio. Interestingly, she lives in that very same school district and is a friend of the ousted Board member. Both are fundamentalist Christians.
Ohio House Bill 136, pushed by Rep. Sears, seeks public education funds for charter schools, but this time with a twist. Currently, a charter school in Ohio may only function in public school districts that have fallen in test scores to ‘academic watch’ or ‘academic emergency’ levels. House Bill 136 expands school vouchers to all school districts, regardless of academic performance, and eventually would give funding to students already in private schools. How’s that for church-state interference? Not only that, but the bill allows families making up to $96k eligible to receive vouchers. So much for being ‘concerned’ for poor inner city children who are ‘forced’ to attend failing public schools.
It smells of right-wing Republican shyterism- the kind that we have seen all across the country of late. Public money for private schools! For ‘good’ Christian schools. Wow! Does it get any worse?
The Toledo Blade said of this story: “State data on the academic performance of voucher students are limited; unlike with public schools, private schools are not rated on annual state report cards. The only data the state provides are how voucher students across entire districts performed. According to that data, voucher students in Toledo performed below the public school averages…” In other words, these for-profit charter schools are not held to the same academic standards as the public schools. Looks like a win-win for them.
Not surprisingly the Blade points out that Catholic schools welcome such free-flowing money. “The Catholic Conference of Ohio supports the bill, said Christopher Knight, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo. “We support school choice. The legislation reaches out to lower-income and middle-class families. It’s about choice and access,” he said.
Lower and middle? Since when is ninety-five thousand dollars lower and middle-class families? The 2010 median income for families in the U.S. is $49,445. How’s that for realistic data?
Why is it that today’s brand of the Republican Party is hell-bent on interfering with and closing down public school system in America? Wasn’t the Department of Education one of the three [or two] branches of government that Rick Perry would shut down as soon as he was inaugurated? Do they think that the children of America ought not be educated? Or is it just their blanket anti-government ideology? Perhaps it is teachers’ unions; we all know how they hate unions. The unions often endorse Democratic candidates. Is that the real reason?
Can you imagine this scenario? Republicans would shut down public education in the United States because of their political agenda. The word pathetic doesn’t do justice to this perverse, self-serving agenda.
Shysters, plain and simple- with a good dose of religion. But then, there always has been a full array of charlatans operating in the religious arena. Barbara Sears is just one more of those GOP tricksters, pretending to be such a good patriot, such a great American. And did I mention that she’s a ‘good’ Christian?