[Propaganda] If simply hearing or reading the word "vouchers" hasn't sent you into a coma yet, read on.
Both sides in Utah's voucher battle are incredibly well-financed. On Nov. 6, voters will be asked to decide on Initiative 1, which in essence, allows for partial financing of a child's private education with public tax dollars. Not surprisingly, teachers' unions have rallied hard against vouchers--here in Utah and anywhere else the topic has come up. It's true what the pro-v's tell us--the National Education Association's PAC has poured nearly $3 million into the fight. Teachers want to keep tax money flowing to public schools, and they want to keep their jobs.
Meantime, pro-voucher forces have peppered TV and radio with crazed advertising, invoking the monstrous images of Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, MoveOn.org and shudder -- the ACLU. What the pro-voucher folks don't like to talk about is their own high-rolling, outside backers, including right-wing, multi-level marketing kingpin, Amway Corp., headquartered in Michigan.
Here at Truth Central (my City Weekly office), I can't fire up the computer without getting hit with an e-mail from an anti-voucher sort. They come from all over the country--Spokane, Wash., to this latest from North Carolina. I can't exactly figure why a Spokanite would give a rat's ass about what happens in Utah's schools.
Unless Utah is being targeted as an important test state for the pro-voucher movement. It is. If vouchers win here, it will make it that much easier to push them elsewhere.
So just figure this: By the time this whole campaign ends, both sides in the debate will have spent more money than God, and nearly all of it coming from outside Utah.
That's pretty American, too, come to think of it.
Here is an example of the letters pro-voucher people have been hounding me with, and from the far corners of the continent:
" ... A retired public school teacher, I have lobbied for greatly expanded options for families for 40 years. It's been a frustrating time: few victories and very far between.
Utah has a chance to show a drifting nation a way forward.
My side does not have millions to counter the National Education Associations, affiliates and allied organizations of the nation's schooling establishment. But we do have logic and we do have facts."
Tom Shuford, retired public school teacher, columnist, EducationNews.org
Lenoir, North Carolina
And that's the kind of mail I get. (Holly Mullen)