Government is not the problem
To the editor:
I would like to respond to the comments made by writer James Lee Elliott on Feb. 9 in his letter regarding public schools, competition, taxes, and government getting in the way of community choice.
The kinds of comments he made, that criticize government in general and reference cost, competition and "efficiency" are the slogans of Republicans that appeal to many people because they make it sound as if reducing government agencies would make everything better, when in fact, making anything better is not the goal of the people promoting these slogans. In fact, quite the opposite.
Mr Elliott said, "Competition, not unity, improves both private and public education, and families in this community and throughout this nation are fed up with out-of-control governmental bureaucrats"
Having public schools and having a responsible agency that administers financing and some standards for public schools in no way reduces competition with other kinds of schools.
What it does do is guarantee free schooling to those who can not afford private school education or private home tutors (which is the usual choice of the rich who travel too much to keep their children in a school unless it is a boarding school, which is another option the richest frequently choose, but which is not available to poorer people.)
The goals put forward by people who promote “less government” are usually to do two things: (1) reduce their own tax contribution to the good of society and (2) reduce the availability of public services in order to benefit from their own for-profit businesses to replace them.
Having public schools is essential to having an educated population that can responsibly participate in a democracy. Doing away with government schools would not benefit society.
On the other hand, regulations implemented by Republican president George W. Bush on his first day in office, 5,000 pages of the No Child Left Behind program, have hamstrung public schools with vast administrative costs for standardized testing that reduce teaching time and are aimed primarily at closing public schools.
To get rid of that Republican program that damages the efficacy of our public schools, we do not need to get rid of "government," the solution promoted by Republicans. We need to get rid of the No Child Left Behind program, aimed at closing public schools so that corporations and billionaires can offer their "for-profit" alternatives and design education to serve their purposes – not in the best interests of the public.
The kinds of comments Mr. Elliott made really get my goat, in part because they are so effective in making people think that "government" is the problem, when in fact it is not government but it is ignorance and gullibility of people who vote for legislators who support doing away with agencies and regulations to protect the environment; laws to protect the civil liberties of all humans; regulations to control corporate greed; laws to protect small business from monopoly of ownership; and other inconveniences to huge corporate profits.
– Kathy Jaffey