Monday, September 25, 2006

Taking Hyman to School

It’s always fun when Mark Hyman is so transparently hypocritical in the way he argues.

His latest editorial on school vouchers is a marvelous case in point of Hyman's penchant for duplicity. Singing the praises of a study that claims school voucher programs decrease segregation in schools, Hyman says that the study “repudiates earlier studies from the anti-voucher group, the Public Policy Forum.”

But the
Public Policy Forum is not “an anti-voucher group.” They’re a civic think tank in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that deals with a wide range of issues facing the metro area.

What’s more, they
aren’t even necessarily anti-voucher. The organization has criticized aspects of the ongoing voucher program in Milwaukee as it is currently practiced, but it’s advocated changes in the system, not getting rid of it. In fact, it’s taken issue with both sides of the voucher debate.

That doesn’t mean their studies couldn’t be flawed, but to imply that their study is suspect because of an alleged zealotry on the issue of school vouchers is invalid.

But the more amazing part of the editorial is the fact Hyman attacks the PPF as an “anti-voucher” group, yet does so citing a study by the Friedman Foundation.

Hyman doesn’t say anything about the Friedman Foundation’s position on the issues, leaving the viewer to assume that unlike those extremists at the PPF, it’s a neutral party.

The reality is that the
Friedman Foundation is as biased as a source could possibly be when it comes to the issue of school vouchers. It’s founder, conservative economist Milton Friedman, literally invented the concept of school vouchers fifty years ago. In fact, the foundation’s raison-d’etre is championing vouchers.

Again, this doesn’t mean that the Friedman Foundation’s study is wrong, but for Hyman to cast aspersions on the relatively neutral PPF because of their fictitious wild-eyed hatred of vouchers yet fail to mention that the Friedman Foundation does nothing but actively lobby for voucher programs is bald-faced dishonesty.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to be suspicious of voucher systems, among them:

· Vouchers won’t cover the expenses of sending a child to most private schools.

· Because of this, the claim that low-income families will suddenly be able to send their children to private schools is fictitious.

· Most people who could use vouchers to send kids to private schools can already afford to.

· Vouchers are simply a monetary incentive for relatively well-off parents to pull their children out of public schools and into private schools.

· Vouchers “enable” very few people to send their kids to private schools; they operate more as bribes.

· Ergo, voucher systems as currently practiced don’t “revolutionize” education or offer much in the way of increased choice; they simply encourage more people to opt out of the public school system.

· Vouchers amount to a tax giveaway for well-to-do people.

· The money for vouchers must come from somewhere. Proponents claim it won’t be taken from public education, but if not, it must come through higher taxes or cuts in other services.

· School choice doesn’t equal vouchers. Increased choice in public schools is a good idea, but vouchers to send kids to private schools amounts to abandoning the principle of public education. It declares victory over the educational challenges we face by ignoring them.

· Since the vast majority of the private schools that would receive voucher money are affiliated with churches, voucher systems as currently practiced amount to an unconstitutional government support of religion.

Look, if Milton Friedman or any other proponent of the voucher system for private schools wants to put forward a program in which the government ponies up enough money so that a kid from South Central or the Bronx can go to Hawthorne Hills Preparatory Academy and Institute of Polo Studies and share stock tips with Little Lord Fauntleroy whilst punting on the campus’s waterway, we’ll talk.

Until then, let’s not strip mine the few resources we have in public education and use them as door prizes at the Let’s Abolish the Department of Education mixer.

And even if you *are* in favor of that, let’s at least be honest about the pedigree of our statistics, shall we? (I’m talking to you, Mark.)

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 6.97


At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great CounterPoint Ted, I loved the humor at the end!
Keep bustin' Hyman, he deserves every bit of it!
Mike B. in SC

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

Thanks Mike! I always love to hear from you. I appreciate your readership.



At 2:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith Olbermann is convincing me that he is in fact, the reincarnation of Edward R. Murrow.

I'm sure you have seen his reports, but for those that haven't, they should zip over to and check out his last five in the video section. His latest on the Clinton interview on Faux News was just astounding in today's media climate, when every other outlet seems bent on boosting Bush's poll numbers with poor jounalism.

And how about the two different cover stories in NewsWeek, "Losing Afghanistan" for distribution internationally, and Americans get "My Life In Pictures", it's just so hard to get good photos of Tom Cruse and other celebrities!

Methinks somebody doesn't want Americans to get too concerned before a major election.

Thanks for all you do Ted, if we get through this, all your work will make for a nice book about how America nearly lost it all. Otherwise, we may meet up at GitMo or one of the other detention camps under construction, or maybe on a leisurely rendition flight to one of the 'Stans.

Mike B. in SC

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted, I was joking at the end of my last comment, well, sort of, I mean you have to laugh and maintain a good sense of humor about all this to keep yourself from becoming severely depressed over the death of democracy and the march toward fascism in America.
However, just refusing to believe that it can happen here is also very dangerous and denies the lessons of history. As somebody once said, "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it."
Anyway, here is an excerpt and a link to a good piece at TruthOut by William Rivers Pitt -

In Case I Disappear
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 29 September 2006

I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.

I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.

Matters are different now.

Thanks Ted, and keep bustin' Hyman and the propaganda machine.
Mike B. in SC


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