Letter: Pappas was right about one thing — cookies

Editor:

I was a little disappointed to pick up The Chrony and read the silliness on the opinion page.

It wasn’t so much the outright insanity that bothered me (as this is what one regularly expects from this page) as that it was outright insanity that, if carried out at a community-wide level, will affect my children.

Apparently it was “bash voucher” day, as could be readily seen in the two opinion articles and accompanying cartoon. The article that made me laugh/cry the most happened to be written by none other than Nicholas Pappas (“Vouchers help the rich,” Oct. 19).

Vouchers are evil, he argues, only being supported by the likes of “George W. Bush, Jim Oberweis, John McCain and most likely Satan himself.” He came to this conclusion after viewing a recent ad by the Vote1 folks who spelled out the legislation in very simple terms. So simple in fact, that they employed Oreo cookies to illustrate. Pappas got upset and responded with the following points:

1) The argument is too simple and is flawed.

2) Poor families would only get $3,000 per child.

3) Church and state will be mixed-Constitution out the window.

4) How would you like your kid going to Catholic private school?

5) Helps only the rich kids.

6) Doesn’t increase the amount of money spent on public education.

7) Children are not cookies.

The argument is flawed? First off, the commercial in question doesn’t even provide an argument, just a straightforward explanation about how the legislation works. No argument is provided possibly because the conclusion seems so practical that an argument would be overkill. The explanation is “too simple” because the issue is “too simple.” Essentially, if the legislation passed, parents would be able to allocate up to $3,000 of the $7,500 that should be spent yearly on their children’s education to other educational establishments (i.e. charter schools, private schools, etc.) leaving $4,500 behind in the public school system to be divided up among the remaining students.

The reallocated money must be spent on education. In most cases, this is more than enough to cover tuition at a charter school. Pappas rightly points out that this legislation doesn’t increase the taxation of American citizens in order to increase the amount of money that is spent in the public education system; however, that’s not the point. This legislation makes alternative education opportunities available to a wider audience, which will reduce the class sizes in public schools and increase the money available per student in public schools without raising taxes.

I’m not quite sure how this legislation helps only the rich. For people who see $3,000 as little more than pocket change, this won’t be a victory in either direction. It seems to me that this legislation benefits middle class citizens who wish to take advantage of other educational opportunities, as well as benefiting those who choose to stay in public schools by allowing the allocation of more money per student, as well as smaller class sizes.

It appears that the rich kids in European boarding schools won’t benefit at all.

I’m not quite sure what the Constitution has to do with this, as I can’t find “separation of church and state” anywhere in its pages.

I’m also not sure what my feelings of Catholic private schools have to do with the legislation. Nobody will be forced to go to Catholic private schools. In fact, there happen to be some reasonably priced Protestant schools (under $3,000!) as well as reasonably priced liberal schools, etc.

Let it be noted that on the astute observation that “children are not cookies,” I am in full agreement with Pappas.

Matt Weinstock

Graduate Student,

Biochemistry