The Deseret News recently published an article about the tenure of Pat Rusk as president of the Utah Education Association. I don't know if Pat Rusk feels the way the article portrays, but the following paragraph in the article jumped out at me.
the leader of the 18,000-member union also has friends, handing over dollars and manpower to one of Utah's strongest political arsenals that has helped block Republican Party-backed tax credits or vouchers for private school tuition in one of the nation's reddest states.Let me get right to the point. I can't, based on the above paragraph, cast aspersions at Ms. Rusk, but I do feel that anyone who feels proud of blocking other educational opportunities for children, such as vouchers and tax credits, truly does not have the interest of children at heart. They only have the furtherance of their own career and interests at heart. The DesNews article makes it sound like it is thrilling for the UEA to block educational opportunities for students, simply because the republican majority in the Utah legislature makes such a good enemy.
Now I know that Utah public educators have taken their series of bumps and bruises from some of the Utah public and from the legislature, much of which has been undue, but it doesn't change the fact that more educational options are better than one. More options encourage each other to provide a better service in order to remain viable. Public educators can show their true dedication to children's education by at least not frowning on alternative methods of education.
I applaud charter schools as an alternative to regular public schools. I applaud private schools as an alternative as well. And I think that in nearly all cases, home educator-mothers and fathers can provide as good an education as any of the three alternatives listed above.
Lest I be misinterpreted, I think public education is an excellent alternative as well. It has been for a long time, especially in light of the fact that--whereas home, private, and charter schools can be selective--regular public education must take all students from even those areas of society where parents are more concerned with such things as drugs and debt than they are reading to their children. But additionally, regular public education has and will become better as it is confronted with competition in the form of other methods of education.
Competition causes innovation, which is nearly always positive. Public educators, if they truly have the interests of children at heart, should support alternative forms of education, as these alternatives will help public educators find even better ways to provide better education for the children they serve.