: MDG, as much as I agree with you on some things, I must disagree here. I must defend school vouchers on socialist grounds.
By this, do you mean equal access to schools of equal quality? I don't argue with that, but the solution is to make public schools the epitome of quality eduction. Think of the New York Public Library or the Library of Congress: public institutions open to all, and world-class libraries which put other public AND private libraries to shame. We can and should do the same with public schools.
: As things stand, private schools currently offer what is often a stellar education to those who can afford it (upper middle class and above).
See my statement above.
:Some, like the high school i went to, manage to achieve a good degree of racial and socieoeconomic diversity by affirmative action and recruiting in inner cities. My class in the private high school I went to was roughly 14% black, comparable with the national average. However, it is indubtable that there are many deserving kids who cannot attend bevcause their families are neither wealthy enough to pay, nor are they stellar enough to merit a scholarship. This situation, I believe, is not fair.
Again, see my statement above. As for diversity, since I do not believe in busing or other means of removing children from their local schools, I don't see how merely providing vouchers will promote diversity. Diversity should come from diverse neighborhoods.
: The goal of socialism, communism, social democracy, and even redistributive capitalist liberalism, is to divorce, as far as possible, one's claim to and enjoyment of the goods of society from one;s financial wealth. The goal of conservativism is to oppose such divorcement. It's for this reason that I support subsidized housing, free health care, price controls on food, etcetera. In an ideal socialist society, one would receive according to need, not to monetary wealth. Different societies, to tehd egree that they are socialist, will achieve the ideal to different degrees. Currently in America we are very very far from such an ideal. But that does not give us license to throw up our arms in defeat. On the contrary, any measure that contributes to divorcing one's enjoyment of a good from one';s ability to pay increases equality and fairness, and therefore, I believ, should be supported. I support vouchers for the same reason I support rent control, because they allow poor children to enjoy a good of society (private schools) that they could not before.
I hate to repeat myself, but my first statement answers this very fine point you make, and (barring vouchers) with which I agree wholeheartedly.
: I went to a private school. I woudl be a damned hypocrite if I DIDN"T support vouchers whioch would make it possible for anyone to do the same.
Or you could support world-class public education, which can be achieved by setting excellent standards, providing excellent facilities, and top-notch teachers. How to pay for this? How about deleting a few bombers and cruise missiles from the annual budget?
I also support equal funding of schools within states, so that all the tax dollars are totalled and distribute equally. People who pay high property taxes might complain, but that's being unduly selfish, as children are our future. Sure, it's a little unfair, but look at the benefits. Or, you can be selfish and want better for kids in your county than kids in the next county, but that to me is not a sympathetic argument.
: Your church and state argument is interesting, and important, but not, i believe, sufficient.
It can't be insufficient under our Constitution. It must, in fact, be supreme. The Constitution is the law of the land, and if we flaunt it in one area, we open the door to flaunt it in all areas. Too many people fought and died (both in wars, and in the streets) to uphold our Constitutional rights. We must either follow it, or change it through amendments, but I'm very happy with the First Amendment as it stands right now.
It's unforntuate that creationist evangelists will eb able to indoctrinate kids with public money. Hwoever, that's the price we must pay for equality.
No need to pay the price, as the Constitution forbids such evangelism in public schools. We can achieve equality and religious freedom simultaneously, if we're willing to commit the resources to do so. However, I fear that as our democracy crumbles around us, our children will be taught the 10 Commandments in public schools long before they are all given eqaul access to top-notch schools.