Thursday, November 8, 2007

They Ain't Down Yet

[Election 2007] The Parents for Choice in Education ( sent out a swan-song press release today:

"On Tuesday, Utah voters went to the polls and defeated the voucher program that promised a life line to children who struggle in their assigned schools. It is unfortunate that families who need another option have been stripped of their ability to choose a school that meets the needs of their children."

Hey, if you really feel so passionately about education, PCE folks, why didn't you take the millions you raised and invest them in making public schools better? (The $8 million raised by pro- and anti-voucher groups works out to about $15.50 per Utah student—good for a few packages of Oreo cookies, at least, and a few felt markers.)

The defeat of vouchers has to be an empty victory for schoolteachers, many of whom regularly dig into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies and materials. While they scratch and scramble to make do, they got to watch PCE pour money into insipid and innane TV ads that irritated more than persuaded and watch their own union fight back with millions of its own. How bittersweet it must have been to see parents for once get worked up about education, to donate time and pots of money, to rally and organize, only, in the end, to see no real infusion or enhancement to their individual classrooms.

Amazingly, the PCE folks say don't count them out:
"Going forward, we are ready to build on the tremendous progress that we have made in the last several years. The coalition of parents, educators, elected officials, business leaders, and nearly 200,000 voters who came together behind Referendum 1 is larger and stronger than ever. In just a few years we have gone from a fledgling group of Utah parents, to the largest and most successful education reform organization in the state, and one of the leaders in the country."

Successful leaders? Of what? Sorry, you just got trounced. (Jerre Wroble)

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