There is no point in conservatives having “dialogues” with liberals over public policy.
A recent exchange with a liberal on Facebook over education policy has reinforced this conclusion.
In a long tirade, he ranted about school choice, and asserted that charter schools and vouchers were a terrible blow to education.
After weeding through the inaccuracy, irrelevancy and illogic, it appeared his solution was two-fold: “fair wages” for those in the public schools and convening liberals and conservatives to sit down, examine the problems in the public schools and “fix them.”
In 1983 a bipartisan blue-ribbon commission examined the public schools at the national level and concluded that it was being swamped by “a rising tide of mediocrity.”
That was more than 30 years ago so we didn’t wake up yesterday and discover a problem no one had noticed before – one easily fixed if we just talked it over.
The commission didn’t find a lack of “resources” to be the cause of the problems. It suggested higher standards and more accountability.
Florida began on that course in the late 1990s, combining it with choice, and this commonsense approach has produced improvement in the public schools.
Even liberals who fought the reforms are beginning to buy into the program, realizing that they are in an untenable position by opposing an education for poor children. Not all have gotten the memo, unfortunately.
Vouchers – first suggested in the mid-1950s by Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman – allow poor students in failing schools to escape to a good school and get a good education, and a route out of poverty as well.
The liberal who condemned choice could not explain why it was evil to save money for taxpayers, improve the public schools and help poor children get an education.
Apparently it never occurred to him that if they could be “fixed” some brilliant minds would have found a way to fix them. Nor did it occur to him that choice may be part of the solution.
Not all liberals are this obtuse, but enough are, so the best course is to elect conservatives to government. Then, when problems that government is capable of solving or improving present themselves, the elected representatives will do something that makes sense, rather than assuming that throwing more money at the problem is the only solution.