Thursday, September 22, 2005

If past is prologue...

USA Today runs a story today on the half-billion dollar voucher program the Bush Administration wants to start to get Katrina evacuees -- from public or private schools -- into the school of their choice. There's a particularly interesting quote from the Superintendent of Mississippi schools:

Mississippi State Superintendent Hank Bounds, in Washington on Wednesday to lobby Congress for $1.8 billion to rebuild ravaged schools, said he wouldn't ordinarily support vouchers, but "these aren't ordinary circumstances. They are extraordinary.

"For a short-term fix, in order to open up as many schools as we can," such a proposal seems reasonable. Longer-term, "I think it's problematic."

I agree. I know that sounds crazy to regular readers of this blog, but there's a caveat: I don't trust the Bush Administration at all. And I'm not in a minority on that. The poll numbers and approval ratings show overwhelmingly that most people don't trust them. Spellings says it's a short term solution, but the Adminstration has lied so many times about so many things that nothing they say has any credibility anymore.

So, really, I agree with the idea. If there were an honest, trustworthy Administration in power -- Democratic or Republican -- and they said that this hurricane was so catastrophic and so disruptive that for one year this is the best way to get the evacuated students into schools, I'd believe them. But we don't have an honest administration, so I don't know if they mean it or not. No one does. I don't even think they know anymore. They're spinning things so fast that I think they forget what they really mean.

But if past is prologue -- and it usually is -- they're lying and this is no "one-year relief aid package" (as Spellings said yesterday). This is part of a long term plan to privatize education. And if that's true (and I sincerely hope that it's not), then this is a new low for the Bush Administration (and that's saying something). Because if it's true that means that they are using the unimaginable pain and suffering of hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to push a narrow, partisan, ideological agenda.

God, I hope it's not true.


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