Jesse Jackson’s Education Amendment: Don’t Drink the Water, by Mike Green

Jesse Jackson says public schools are good enough for all children. On a recent airing of ABC’s “This Week,” he compared America’s public schools to Washington, DC tap water, reckoning that if the quality of the city’s water (and, by association, the schools) is good enough for some, it is good enough for all.

To further his case against school vouchers, Jackson made clever statements like, “Let’s do heavy lifting and lift all of our children.” Panelist George Will countered that 30 Michigan school districts fail to graduate two-thirds of their students and are considering a voucher initiative that does not impact public school funding. Will asked, “What can you say against that!?” Jackson quipped, “I think all schools should be choice and all children chosen.” That’s smooth, but it didn’t answer Will’s question.

Jackson remained firmly against school choice even though Will pointed out that 72% of African-Americans favor vouchers and that over 1.5 million “desperate parents” applied for only 40,000 privately-funded vouchers offered by the Children’s Scholarship Fund.

Jackson, who fancies himself as the nation’s premier civil rights leader, instead believes that “vouchers are a cop-out for a few, at the expense of the masses.” While offering no evidence that the government’s educational system would be hurt more by vouchers than it already is by incompetent leadership, Jackson upped the ante by calling for a constitutional amendment to “guarantee a quality education for all of America’s children.” This begs the question: If the government can guarantee a quality education, then why isn’t it already providing it?

Using his popular sound-bite style of speaking, Jackson rattled off neat one-liners that seemed more appropriate at a hip-hop freestyle gathering than as an explanation of his unpopular position against school vouchers. And while everyone would love to have a guaranteed quality education, Jackson seems to have forgotten that we African-Americans can think for ourselves.

We can see our children being graduated from high school without a mastery of the English language, while elementary schools experiment with new teaching methods that downplay or discard proven phonics and grammar teaching methods. We can see results of the great socialization experiment that isolates our children on ill-supervised campuses. We can see our tax dollars funding the same schools that fail our students, and see politicians continually ask for more money while misusing what they’ve already confiscated.

And African-American parents, along with parents of all races, understand the political movement seeking to force our children to not only recognize the “sexual rights” of other students but accept virtually any lifestyle as “normal.” This movement simultaneously rejects the laws of the God in which most of this country believes. Government-run public schools have sidelined academic instruction in favor of propaganda and indoctrination. Liberalism and socialism are the ideologies to which our children are constantly subjected. As parents, we are aware.

We are also aware that it is OUR money being spent on these poor excuses for schools, not the government’s. We are aware that Jesse Jackson and others wish to tell us what is good for our children, and that no amount of evidence showing fervent African-American support for school vouchers will quell their desires to promote government schools.

A million parents marching on Washington in protest of Jackson’s proposed constitutional amendment will not deter his liberal campaign from attempting to wash over the needs of black Americans, leaving behind the residue of government programs and taxpayer-funded policies. After all, it isn’t his money.

The strange thing about Jackson’s desire to trump voucher programs with a constitutional amendment is that the media isn’t flinching. No one calls him on his ignorance, informing him that the government has no money! The money belongs to the people, though confiscated through taxes. This confiscation of American income, profits and assets, in turn, funds the unconstitutional liberal programs bankrupting our nation. Doesn’t Jackson’s steadfast opposition sound just a little too much like a slave who has been given power on the plantation – the one who runs to “ma’sa” to inform him that his slaves are teaching their children to read without permission?

Clearly, Jackson stands squarely against black progress. He is abdicating the leadership he so vainly wants.

It’s time for Jesse Jackson to retire. Give him poverty-level Social Security benefits that he won’t be able to leave as inheritance to his grandbabies. Let him sit home to greet those grandbabies as they return from public schools that have failed to teach them even how to read, sabotaging their future.

Instead of calling for a constitutional amendment to trap children in a failed educational system, let’s call for Jesse Jackson to get out of running our lives and get one of his own… for a change.


(Mike Green is an associate of Project 21 and the president of the Committee to Restore America Foundation in San Diego, California. He can be reached at [email protected].)

Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.