One of These Parties Is Not Like The OtherThe idea that Tennessee Democrats want your children to have a quality education is exposed as a fairy tale with each passing hour:
Republican lawmakers are still working on a proposal to expand charter school eligibility before the end of the legislative session, saying the state could be in danger of forfeiting $100 million in federal stimulus funds.
Democrats and public school representatives say that the funds aren't guaranteed regardless of what the legislature does, and that the state could very well receive the money without expanding charter schools.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, would open charter schools to all urban students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch programs. Nearly three-fourths of students in the Metro schools system qualify.
Harwell and other Republicans contend that Tennessee could lose out on $100 million as part of a $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" federal grant program for states that commit to education reform — including increasing access to charter schools. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is scheduled to talk to reporters today about President Barack Obama's administration's emphasis on the importance of charter school access to receiving the funds.
The federal funds in question are coming from an administration that nearly all Republicans in Tennessee (certainly this writer) disagree with vehemently on a whole host of issues and policy directives, including education policy. However, we know that this money can help a whole lot of Tennessee children receive a vastly superior educational experience. Instead of being forced to attend schools that are failing them as much for the violence and bad behavior around them as for poor funding, a chance is being handed to Tennessee to give some of the most disadvantaged of our children a better shot in life through a better educational environment.
The Democrats and their allies at the Tennessee Extortion Association are the reason that charter schools are not already expanded in Tennessee, and federal money be damned, they aren't about to allow for an increased and superior number of charter schools to highlight just how badly they've managed to ruin the education of Tennessee children in the past couple of decades (mind you, any other times they would have their hands out like hungry rats to take every federal dollar they can). The Left always loves to talk about how they are the champions of "the poor," but everyone knows that education begins the path out of poverty for most people begins with a quality education. When it comes to education, our friends on the other side really are elitists.
Democrats and liberals are opposed to school choice that would allow parents to decide what schools their tax dollars will go to, hence opening parochial and faith-based educational opportunities to all parents and all children with initiative, not merely those who can afford to pay for them. The classic argument is that this will destroy the public school system, but what it will really do is force the public schools to compete for good students, and improve their educational environments to do so.
In the case of charter schools, liberals don't have the smokescreen of public school apocalypse to fall back on because charter schools are public schools. The real fear on the part of the TEA and their Democratic allies is that increased availability of charter schools will mean that to compete, non-charter schools will have to let bad teachers go-and Lord knows we can't have that, can we?
One side is concerned about placating their unionized political base, while the other is concerned with putting Tennessee's kids first.