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Mother of All Voucher Battles!

The Washington Post has a good article
about a voucher war brewing in California

Here's my commentary on this tug of war,
which reminds me of “The Perfect Storm.”

Wealthy Republican dad Timothy Draper came
up with the idea of awarding $4,000 to each
of the three million kids enrolled in
California public schools and 600,000
enrolled in private schools, and he’s
prepared to invest $20 million of his own
money in the fight. Teachers unions are
expected to match Draper’s investment
dollar for dollar, with all the combatants
throwing $50 million into the pot.

In comparison, the Republican and
Democratic national committees combined
have $88 million going into the fall
elections--money that will be spread out to
help congressional candidates as well as
Bush and Gore.

And some of that money will likely be
diverted to public relations related to
California vouchers as Gore and Bush “will
almost inevitably be sucked into the
California vortex where money and policy
collide.” Bush has dodged the issue, which
is actively supported by John McCain.
Analysts say the situation may favor Al
Gore. However, Latinos and African
Americans, who traditionally support
Democrats like Gore, also like vouchers.

I LOVE the statement by Antonio Gonzalez,
director of the nonpartisan Southwest Voter
Registration Education Project: “I mean,
the best possible case for vouchers is
LAUSD.” That’s the Los Angeles Mummified
School District I’ve written about in
connection with derelict
principal “Jailhouse Sallye” Gauthier. The
student population is more than 70%
Hispanic, yet there’s just one Latino on
the school board, and they just lost their
Latino superintendent (a derelict, if I
remember correctly). Gonzales says the
thinking might be, “Let’s take the $4,000
and go to Catholic school.”

The issue is further complicated by Green
Party nominee Ralph Nader, who could suck
up as much as 10% of the vote.

Vouchers are opposed by rank-and-file
public school teachers, who believe
vouchers will harm public schools and also
cost them their jobs as students flee to
good schools. Social and Christian
conservatives like vouchers because they
offer parents choice and would pay for
their children to attend religious schools.
Private school parents see a rare
opportunity to get money back from the

Seven out of ten California voters do not
have children in school. For them, the
question is which alternative saves them
the most tax dollars.

Voters with kids will congregate behind two
platforms: 1) The system is broke and needs
to be fixed. 2) Vouchers will hurt public
schools (which only need another $3 billion
in federal aid).

When a statewide representative sampling of
voters was read a summary of the measure,
support was evenly split, with 39 percent
for and 39 percent against, and the rest

Their minds may well be slapped silly by
the in-your-face advertising campaign
that’s barreling towards them. Compare the
situation to Washington State where an
invisible Supt. of Public Instruction
challenged by three unknowns is eclipsed by
an insipid charter school initiative
championed by a billionaire parasite who
became interested in education about four
months ago.

California appears to be blessed with the
perfect storm!

Reference: “Calif. School Voucher
Initiative Roils Race,” William Booth,
Washington Post, July 19, 2000

David Blomstrom,,

This month's letters:

  • Educational Evaluators, 7/31/00, by Cyndy.
  • Alternatives to the NEA, 7/24/00, by JM.
  • Interview Questions, 7/24/00, by Heyley.
  • Uk Chatboard., 7/21/00, by aguk.
  • Breaking the ah-durn myth of permanence in ability, 7/21/00, by Rick Lynn.
  • Testing and School Supplies, 7/21/00, by Natalie.
  • Cooperative Learning & Interactive Skills, 7/20/00, by P. Schmidt.
  • Mother of All Voucher Battles!, 7/19/00, by David Blomstrom.
  • Campaign Donations, 7/19/00, by David Blomstrom.
  • teacher pay, 7/15/00, by Pat.
  • This Web/Teachers Only, 7/15/00, by The parent you resent.
  • teacher pay, 7/13/00, by Ralph.
  • Who Do We Have To Blame?, 7/13/00, by questions2much.
  • Who Do We Have To Blame?, 7/11/00, by Beacon.
  • Remarks by Sec. of Educ Richard Riley at NECC 2000, 7/03/00, by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley.


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