Monday, October 29, 2007

PCE and Huntsman

Like every other Utahn, I witnessed PCE's last gasp in an efforts at making vouchers a reality. You've got Rob Bishop, a Congressman who as a teacher and a legislator undermined public education during his tenure at the capitol using that status as a former teacher coming out for vouchers. Having spent enough time up at the hill, I can guarantee you that Bishop wasn't a teacher legislator, but a legislator teacher looking to get out of the teaching career for higher office. His support for public education was always conditional and tepid at best.

Now, PCE also has an ad using Jon Huntsman jr., calling him a "champion of public education." Listen PCE, let us be the judge of who's a champion of public education, not you. In his tenure as Governor, I can't think of a single innovation regarding public education coming from the Governor's office, nor can I think of a single tangible accomplishment in any realm by his administration. Huntsman's adminstration appears to me to be even more obsessed with image over substance than the high fallutant Leavitt administration, which is saying something. Huntsman's endorsement is irrelevant, because frankly, Huntsman himself is irrelevant as a Governor. Ask Huntsman to give a speech, cut a ribbon or kiss a baby and he's in his element. Ask Huntsman to make a principled and reasoned policy decision and you'd might as well listen to the crickets chirp.

Huntsman's allowing his name to be used by PCE because frankly, he fears the crazies in his own party and is doing so for purely political purposes. In that regard I don't blame him. If I was a Republican Governor in Utah, the only worry I would have politically is a primary challenge. Too many voters in this state would vote for any Republican for Governor because they feel that is their duty. This reality creates alot of power to the fringe element of the Republican party. Gayle Ruzika and her fanatical fringe may make up only 10% of the population, but they represent 35% of the effective political power in Utah due to Utah's single party dominance. That is why PCE has picked Utah as their test case. Utah is to be the guineau pig for this right-wing gambit and our school children are the ones being injected.

Disclaimer: I normally don't like to sound as strident as I do in this post. However, I have to admit, that PCE has a way of getting under my skin. The dark side of the force is indeed strong with them.


Urban Koda said...

Well put! I have a question for you though...

I support vouchers, just because I think they are better than what we have, but I'm definitely not a huge fan of them, due to what will likely be increases in funding to two programs now, instead of 1 and a host of other problems.

How would you feel about the following idea... A little radical, and no doubt something that both parties would shoot down, but...

Each child get's allocated a budget (I believe the amount currently is $7000 annually) instead of funding schools, lets give each kid a voucher (or a certificate to distinquish this from the current plan). The kids picks the school, and that school then redeems the certificate for their funding. Good schools get more money and bad schools stand in danger of losing money. There is obviously more that would need to be thought out, especially with reguard to private/public schools and other things, but wanted to get your take on the basic idea.

David said...

PCE has a real knack for getting under skin, like a needle at a blood drive. I was a supporter of vouchers, but not any more, thanks in part to PCE. I am still supportive of the principles behind vouchers, and vouchers in theory, but not the current attempt at vouchers.

I think you really nailed the truth here:
"Huntsman's endorsement is irrelevant, because frankly, Huntsman himself is irrelevant as a Governor. Ask Huntsman to give a speech, cut a ribbon or kiss a baby and he's in his element. Ask Huntsman to make a principled and reasoned policy decision and you'd might as well listen to the crickets chirp."

I read a Tribune article calling him an "immensely popular Governor" and I almost choked. Are we really so shallow in this state that this empty governor is immensely popular because of his name recognition? (What else does he have besides name recognition - certainly not a position on anything useful.)

Obi wan liberali said...

Ya know Urban, I have real reservations about vouchers in general. I am not a critic of public ed as many are. I think they do a pretty good job given what parameters they are faced with. They can't pick and choose who goes to their school and how committed the student's parents are to education.

David, though I disagree with you about the basic concept and premise to vouchers in general, I respect your opinion.

It is frustrating to me that most Utahns have no idea what is going on in state government. Huntsman is an extremely weak executive and is more driven by public perception than a desire to accomplish anything. Power for power's sake is like playing basketball without a hoop, alot of dribbling but no scoring. The fact that the general public doesn't see it is truly alarming.

Best regards to you Urban and David. May the farce be with you.

Urban Koda said...

There's a song I really like called "Freedom of Choice" The chorus goes something like...

"Freedom of Choice is what you've got, Freedom from Choice, is what you want"

I think the biggest problem with people today is that they just don't care about their liberties, or anything. I've heard far too many people recently say they are just going to vote for the popular person so they can back a winner, or that they are going to vote along party lines because they don't like the other party.

And thus we have the current morons in office...