The above video was from the Ed Schultz show. (The same delusional leftist who once claimed, “NPR is about as down the middle as you can get.“) Schultz claims, “this is a racist budget; I mean, anybody with a brain knows that those 82% of the kids that are under the poverty level are never going to go to a private school, and yet the Governor wants the parents of those kids to take a portion of their tax dollars and fund private schools.” Sharpton calls it “the epitome of an insult.” Ignore for a moment Shartpon’s ridiculous implication that the unions agreed to “take collective bargaining off the table, the “Rev.” claims, “they want to now spend public dollars to give a vouchers to private schools for kids that will never ever come from the neighborhoods that most need public education.”
There is so much that is factually incorrect about that brief statement that it’s hard to know where to begin. For starters, I don’t know where Ed Schultz gets his numbers. He seems to claim that 82% of children in Wisconsin are living in poverty. But according to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 83% of Wisconsin children are “not poor” while 17% live below the poverty line. Even if we gave Schultz the benefit of the doubt and included “low income” children, the number would be 37%, significant, but still less than half of Schultz’s claimed 82%.
As to Schultz’s claim of “racism.” When did poor become an ethnic group? While it’s true that a greater percentage of poor children are in minority ethnic groups, correlation does not imply causation. It’s also true that children who have moved in the past year are three times more likely to be poor, but Schultz isn’t calling this bill “anti-U-Haul.” Children who live with a single parent are 3.1 times more likely to be poor, but the bill isn’t derided as “anti-single-mom.”
Both Schultz and Sharpton claim, in their own way, that poor children will never go to private school. That’s probably true without vouchers, but to pretend a voucher system won’t change that demonstrates this dynamic duo is either exceedingly naive or willingly distorting the truth to defend the status quo. (I’m leaning towards the latter). Newsflash: “rich kids” already have school choice. Their parents can afford to send them to private school with or without a voucher. Poor kids, on the other hand, don’t have the same options. When the compassionate™, caring™ Democrats bowed to DC public school unions, it wasn’t the “rich kids” who were affected. Obama’s children remain at the private Sidwell Friends Academy, but poor children, children whose parents had begged legislators to keep the program, were sent back to their violent, rundown, failing, inner-city public schools. It was left to Republicans to attempt to revive this program. Hopefully, they will succeed.
Vouchers may send taxpayer dollars to private schools, but they do so to the benefit of poor students who otherwise couldn’t attend these institutions. The only people who don’t benefit from vouchers are bad teachers at failing schools. Suddenly, their cash supply is threatened. Either Schultz and Sharpton are thoroughly uninformed, or they’re using poor children as human shields to defend failing teachers at failing schools.