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 can’t be ignored. But before I go into that, let’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 “play” may often seem to be the most important subject to kids, school board members should know that their job isn’t child’s play. Or maybe not, because Seminole County and 40 other school districts across the U.S. have plans to integrate our schools. You’re saying: “Yeah, yeah. We know… the mixing of races.” No, no, not that kind of integration. Fortunately, we have Seminole schools director of instruction, Anna Marie Cote, to clear up our confusion: “Our new direction is looking at socioeconomic diversity.” 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 “alternative”. The Seminole school district says this isn’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.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting… and more asinine. Supposedly, low-income students from poorer schools will be “allowed” 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, “schools” are neither poor nor wealthy – the people who pay the property taxes that support those schools are wealthy… or poor, in which case, they probably don’t pay taxes at all. Number two, what idiot doesn’t know that all affluent students from “wealthy” schools are just dying to go to poor schools? Oh, puh-leez!! And can you imagine how thrilled parents of said “affluent” students will be as they drive their children past the schools their tax dollars maintain? One hopes they’re driving past on the way to their kids’ private school. So much for neighborhood schools. I won’t even bother to mention how much more fair real school choice – vouchers for everyone… the money goes with the child – 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: “In general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give it to another.”

Or maybe you prefer this saying from the 1600s: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Karl Marx liked that one, too.

Patti Bankson invites your comments at pbankson@cfl.rr.com
ã2007 Patti Bankson

About The Author Patti Bankson:
Send comments to pbankson@cfl.rr.com © 2011 Patti Bankson The Way I See It / The Apopka Chief / www.thelandofthefree.net

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