By Takia Hollowell
From Rockefeller to Big Business and Big Oil, we are taught that monopolies are bad and evil. Many people argue that they eliminate competition, cause alternatives to be almost non-existent and that too much control is concentrated within an entity. That’s not the case when it comes to education however. These same people that wail against monopolies turn around and then make the case to eliminate free market alternatives for poor children in inner cities. Heavily concentrated power and control are cherished when it comes establishing educational monopolies.
The proponents against school choice will accuse others of trying to siphon money away from their government run behemoth. Holding on to this doctrine of ownership is flawed because tax payer monies do not belong to public schools in the first place. They belong to the tax payers that actually earned the money from paycheck to paycheck. Do they not have a voice in where their tax dollars go? Shouldn’t those tax dollars that they earned follow their child within the school of their choice?
The voices of inner city parents are ignored in this whole debacle as union interests are put first. From school administrators to parents, many have often voiced their concerns of wanting school choice.
Principle Anyam Palmer of the Afrocentric Marcus Garvey school of South Central Los Angeles was quoted as viewing the current public school system as “the vehicle that puts us on welfare, in prison and leaves us illiterate. School choice is the only way out of this vicious cycle.”
Rallies, marches and grassroots organizations representing poor inner city children are voicing their concerns from coast to coast. From Chicago, IL, to Washington DC, to Atlanta, GA, a demand for parental choice is escalating.
In one of the most controversial battles for educational choice, the NAACP joined forces with the unions in Harlem, NY and filed a lawsuit to prevent poor performing schools from closing. Black and Hispanic parents became fed up and rallied against the political propaganda of those leftist organizations.
Within this entire battle, the agenda of the anti-choice proponents has been exposed. Their interests do not lie within the children as they are not concerned with how well schools perform (as evidenced by the NAACP filing a lawsuit against the closing of poorly performing schools). Rather, anti-choice proponents’ interests lie within power. This power derives from the union dues that are extracted from their members. A lack of dues makes it difficult to buy their favorite politicians – who in turn repay them upon election by passing tax increase legislation favoring unsustainable union perks. For union leaders, teachers are walking dollar signs. If the poorly performing schools in Harlem are allowed to close (as they should), union dues evaporate.
No one can articulate that message better than Bob Chanin, General Counsel of the NEA union as he boasted on why they have power. “It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision for a great public school system for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year…”
It’s the dues people; it’s not about the children. This is primarily one of the biggest reasons school choice should not be left in the hands of power-hungry union elitists and DC Bureaucrats. Power belongs in the hands of parents and tax payers – you know, the little people that progressives claim to represent. Parents know what’s best for their own children and their voices should not be drowned out by fake rebuttals about separation of church and state (which is found nowhere in the Constitution by the way). No one is painting the picture that charter schools never fail, but we are painting the argument that poor inner city parents should be able to move their child from a failing school.