It’s a Great Day for Choice, by Murdock “Doc” Gibbs

It’s a great day for minority kids, children in the inner cities and for parents who desperately want to give their children a better education in a safer environment. It’s a great day for parents who want the same benefits for their children enjoyed by the offspring of Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, our representatives and senators, the wealthy and many public school principals and teachers. It’s the opportunity to choose the school where they want their children to go.

On June 27, 2002, in the case involving Cleveland schools, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is legal forAmericans to choose vouchers as an alternative to traditional government-sponsored public education. Essentially, the High Court ruled that government programs permitting vouchers are constitutional, even if the vouchers are used toward tuition at religious schools. “Closing its 2001-2002 term, the Court endorsed a six-year-old pilot program in inner-city Cleveland that provides parents a tax-supported education stipend. Parents may use the money to opt out of one of the worst-rated public school systems in the nation,” wrote Anne Gearan of the Associated Press.

When it comes to educating our children, choice is good. This ruling is good. For too long now, liberal politicians and their supporters in the education establishment have created a climate that tells parents who can’t afford private schools – most of us – that choice in education is a bad idea. “Let’s save our public schools. Let’s improve them. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” are common responses. Well, now we can take the baby out of the bath water and put him in a different tub. Now parents have choice.

In the words of Paul McCartney in his song “Silly Love Songs”: “What’s wrong with that? I’d like to know.” An inner city single mom can send her kid to a private school, a school that might indeed teach the values that she wants her children to learn, in a safe environment, away from the gangs, the drugs and discipline problems. Isn’t this good for all of us?

But the liberal education establishment says choice in education is bad. Want to know a dirty little secret? Check out the percentage of public school principals and teachers who send their own children to private schools. They fight feverishly to keep that very same options they enjoy from others – especially from parents in the inner city who need that choice most of all.

Why is it that liberal ideas that run amok eventually lead to the tyranny of the privileged elite and the victimization of the very people they say they are trying to help? The elites always seem to know what’s best for all of us, and, in the process, victimize the weak, innocent, underprivileged and poor. Think about it: ill-conceived welfare plans have encouraged illegitimacy and the absence of fathers in the home. Abortion kills the innocents and the helpless, and scars women emotionally and physically. Pornography in all its myriad manifestations exploits women and children. The teaching of normalization of aberrant sexual lifestyles, as it is taught today in many public schools (a la “sexual education”) leads to confusion of sexual identity and further potential exploitation of the young. And the stranglehold of public education often locks inner city children into educational systems that cripple them, threatens their safety and robs them of their potential.

It’s a great time for freedom. It’s a great time to have hope in the future of education in America. Everybody needs choice. Choice is good. If we can only give unborn babies a little choice. But let’s discuss that on another day. Now is a great time for choice in education.

(Murdock “Doc” Gibbs is a member of the African-American leadership network Project 21 and a Dallas-area entertainer, speaker and freelance writer. He can be reached at [email protected].)

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


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