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Vouchers and School Choice More Effective than Affirmative Action

School Choice More Effective than Affirmative Action

If America is to become an equal society, then the direction of affirmative action must be changed. Rather than continuing to focus the brunt of our efforts on helping those individuals near the top succeed, we must implement policies designed to provide opportunities to those individuals at or near the bottom. Specifically, affirmative action must return to its original purpose–helping minorities move into the middle class through programs based upon equality of educational opportunity and job creation.

Affirmative action is still needed, but its efforts must be redirected. The truth is that minorities poised to break through the glass ceiling will do so, based upon sheer ability, but minorities on the bottom rungs of society need help to break through the cellar ceiling. These are the individuals for whom affirmative action can do the most good, consequently, these are the people upon whom our efforts should be focused.

When affirmative action was first instituted, the majority of Americans supported its goal of moving the poorest members of minority groups to an improved position in society. Over time, however, affirmative action proponents have lost sight of this goal. Affirmative action programs have ceased to function as a rising tide designed to lift all boats and have instead become preoccupied with helping those near the top. Too little attention has been paid to helping those at the bottom, as a result, the lives of minorities living in poverty have become increasingly bleak. Today, our inner-cities more closely resemble a war zone in Bosnia than they do an American suburb, and conditions continue to deteriorate. This is wrong, an…

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…lem’s economy would come to resemble Hong Kong’s. True “opportunity zones” would attract the capital needed for job creation, and increased employment will be the engine that transforms our inner-cities from war zones back to hospitable places to live.

Today, the need for affirmative action remains strong, but the current programs must be replaced with programs that help the poorest minorities. Affirmative action programs must return to their original purpose. Instead of advocating programs that benefit individuals already poised to succeed, proponents of affirmative action must fight for those individuals who are suffering the most. We, as Americans, have a responsibility to help our Nation’s poorest minorities. Policies of school choice and “opportunity zones” will help us meet this responsibility by increasing educational and employment opportunities.

Vouchers and School Choice – No Need to Separate Church and State

School Choice: No Need to Separate Church and State

Imagine that the fire department decided not to put out fires at synagogues and churches. Or imagine that the police decided not to answer calls from synagogues and churches. “So sorry,” they say, “there’s a wall of separation around your church, and we can’t cross it to help you. Hire your own fire protection and your own security guards.” This would rightly be seen as outrageous discrimination. Sure, the government shouldn’t specially favor religious institutions, but the government shouldn’t discriminate against them, either. The government should separate itself from religion by not caring whether a person or institution is religious — by treating everyone equally regardless of their religious affiliation.

The same is true of education, which is for many people the most valuable benefit that the state provides. The government shouldn’t give more benefits to religious school students than it gives to students at secular schools, whether government-run or private. But why must it give anything less?

The First Amendment doesn’t require such discrimination against religion; it simply bars laws “respecting an establishment of religion.” Equal treatment of everyone, without regard to religion, is not an establishment of religion. This is why the GI Bill, which let soldiers choose either a religious education or a secular one, was perfectly constitutional. It’s why the government may give scholarships or student loans to al…

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… voters can decide to help all children, without discriminating against those whose parents choose a religious education.

My parents sent me to secular schools. If I have children, I’ll probably send them to secular schools, too. But I know others have a different preference. They pay their taxes just like I do. The government may provide services for these people’s kids on the same terms as it provides services for my kids.

That’s the true meaning of the Constitution, whether we’re talking about police services, the fire department, the GI Bill, or elementary schools. Equality for all. Special benefits for none. Discrimination against none.

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