Well said, Joan. Nice headline too. Libertarian former senator Forsythe and the run-away Legislature did a lot of damage last year. Now is the time to fix it:
I would like to respond to the spirited defense of Sen. Stiles mounted in a Saturday, March 19, letter from the prime sponsor of the voucher bill, former Sen. Jim Forsythe.
Last year’s very unusual Republican supermajority passed Mr. Forsythe’s bill over the governor’s veto. He used all the tools at his disposal — letters, editorials and even a fake opinion poll — to marshal opinion for his bill. But voters last November did not agree that government should leave public education behind and fund private education. So it is the task of this year’s Legislature to correct last year’s excesses. Mr. Forsythe’s poorly conceived bill is Exhibit A on that agenda.
Mr. Forsythe features all the usual tropes from voucher advocates. He tells us that a vote to repeal vouchers would have to be “ideological,” the debate is a “rehash,” and that, unlike Sen. Stiles, voucher opponents don’t actually care about children.
But the voucher debate at this stage is definitely not an ideological rehash. There is a lot of new information that Sen.Stiles the Legislature and the public did not have last year.
Did you know last year that there would be no group or board to oversee the tax credit program? And that, as a result, the only scholarship organization with access to the millions of dollars in tax credits granted by the state is a small, inexperienced California group dedicated to privatizing public education?
Did you know last year that 80 percent of the students who designated a school when applying for a voucher would plan to go to a religious school? And that many of those schools integrate a Creationist curriculum into every lesson, in every subject, every day? Constitutionality aside, this is not a curriculum the state should be paying for.
Did you know that there would be virtually no business interest in this tax credit program? There has been only one significant scholarship donation — from a company committed to religious education — but almost nothing beyond that.
Now supporters of public education are indeed writing lots of letters in response to Sen. Stiles’ statements in this paper and elsewhere. I’m sure they must working on other senators’ votes as well. But Sen. Stiles is particularly logical repeal the vote because, as Mr. Forsythe says, she is a supporter of public education. She opposed vouchers last year on that basis and this new information she did not have just weeks ago would be a good basis to support repeal this year.