Vouchers

David Altman altman_d at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 7 19:58:58 MDT 2002


I don't have anything to add to what other comrades have said in reply to
Jose.  I would add that the Supreme Court did not rule on the
constitutionality of vouchers per se, only that they could be used for
religious insitutions.  The fact that millions of dollars of tax money are
now going to parochial schools is more than enough reason to oppose this
reactionary decision.

I'm attaching a letter I wrote to "The Militant."

----------

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed your front-page coverage of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling
that found government support to parochial schools in Cleveland (via a
"voucher" scheme) constitutional.

Here in Milwaukee, WI we have a voucher program that was started in 1990,
originally with a handful of secular private schools.  It was later expanded
to include religious schools, and currently about 10,000 students
participate.

In spite of being the oldest and biggest voucher program in the U.S., no
credible research has shown that voucher students in Milwaukee fare any
better than those who stay in the public schools.  Voucher schools are not
required to hire accredited teachers or regularly test their students, as
are public schools.  Indeed, several voucher schools have failed in the
middle of the school year, leaving their students high and dry.

Voucher schemes have been championed by right-wing forces out to destroy
public education.  A lesser-known role in their promotion has been played by
assorted "Black nationalist" figures, who couch their support for vouchers
in the language of "self-determination for the Black community."  In
Wisconsin, one of these is Annette Polly Williams, a Democratic Party state
Assembly member who moved the original voucher legislation in 1990.  Another
is Mike Holt, editor of the Milwaukee Community Journal, Milwaukee's largest
Black newspaper.

The most prominent of the "Black nationalist" supporters of vouchers has
been Howard Fuller.  Under the name Owusu Sadukai, he was a leader of the
Youth Organization for Black Unity and African Liberation Support Committee
in the 1970s and later was prominent in the Revolutionary Workers League, a
Maoist-Stalinist sect.  In the early '80s Fuller led a massive movement
against police brutality in Milwaukee, which managed to remove our "police
chief for life" Harold Breier.

Fuller is currently funded by the right-wing Bradley Foundation, which
financed the publication of the racist book "The Bell Curve."  With its
support, he travels far and wide pitching support for vouchers against the
"racist public schools."

Regards,
David Altman




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