A is for Asinine
By: Patti Bankson
Occasionally I think about writing something upbeat and positive. I swear to you… I really do think that sometimes. But without fail, every time I do, something comes along that is sooo asinine that it just canâ€™t be ignored. But before I go into that, letâ€™s talk about why people decide to live where they do.
Without children, where my husband and I chose to live was about convenience to restaurants, theatres, shopping or friends; not about school districts. But as all parents know, once you have children skipping toward kindergarten, school becomes part of your daily life and vocabulary. And while â€œplayâ€ may often seem to be the most important subject to kids, school board members should know that their job isnâ€™t childâ€™s play. Or maybe not, because Seminole County and 40 other school districts across the U.S. have plans to integrate our schools. Youâ€™re saying: â€œYeah, yeah. We know… the mixing of races.â€ No, no, not that kind of integration. Fortunately, we have Seminole schools director of instruction, Anna Marie Cote, to clear up our confusion: â€œOur new direction is looking at socioeconomic diversity.â€ Economic integration.
In June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that despite the need for diversity, assigning students to schools could not be based only on race. As a result, some of the school districts in that case are looking at what I call a way around the ruling. Of course, they call it an â€œalternativeâ€. The Seminole school district says this isnâ€™t about race, but about poverty. And it seems school assignments will be based on this definition of poverty: how many students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Apparently, every Seminole County school is on one of two lists: those with an above-average percentage of students getting the above mentioned school lunches and those with a below-average percentage getting them.
Hereâ€™s where it gets even more interesting… and more asinine. Supposedly, low-income students from poorer schools will be â€œallowedâ€ to transfer to wealthier ones, and affluent students from wealthier schools can go to the poorer schools, if they want to. Wait a minute… number one, â€œschoolsâ€ are neither poor nor wealthy â€“ the people who pay the property taxes that support those schools are wealthy… or poor, in which case, they probably donâ€™t pay taxes at all. Number two, what idiot doesnâ€™t know that all affluent students from â€œwealthyâ€ schools are just dying to go to poor schools? Oh, puh-leez!! And can you imagine how thrilled parents of said â€œaffluentâ€ students will be as they drive their children past the schools their tax dollars maintain? One hopes theyâ€™re driving past on the way to their kidsâ€™ private school. So much for neighborhood schools. I wonâ€™t even bother to mention how much more fair real school choice â€“ vouchers for everyone… the money goes with the child â€“ would be. If I did, a whole bunch of people would be on me like white on rice; like a dog on a bone.
Voltaire had it right: â€œIn general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give it to another.â€
Or maybe you prefer this saying from the 1600s: â€œFrom each according to his ability, to each according to his need.â€
Karl Marx liked that one, too.
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Ã£2007 Patti Bankson
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