Re-registering (and the NEA)
TRACKSIDE (c) - July 12, 1998

by John D'Aloia Jr.

TRACKSIDE is a weekly column, currently appearing in The St.Marys Star, The Wamego Times, and The Kansas Christian.

If you don't think the upcoming primary election is important, consider the position of the Kansas branch of the National Education Association. The union, in its June newsletter, strongly suggested to readers that they vote for "friends of public education" and, if necessary, switch parties for the primary so that their education vote will "count." Let's see, are they Asking Republican teachers to switch so they can vote in the Democratic primary for Fred Phelps or Tom Sawyer? No, that does not make sense. Why should Republicans, who are clearly the majority party in Kansas, want to switch to help either Democrat? Both, I assume, could be considered to be in the union's back pocket, while one of the Republican primary candidates is in the same position. It must be then that they are asking Democrats to switch so they can vote in the Republican primary. Why might that be? It is, dear reader, because the union recognizes the importance of the Republican race. The race is between a big-government-is-OK-as-long-as-it-is-Republican candidate, a candidate who will not threaten the union's position of power and influence or hold them accountable for the product they produce, and a candidate who will hold them responsible and believes that parents should have competitive education alternatives available to them. In advocating this tactic, the union is admitting that its Democratic allies have little chance of winning no matter who the Republican candidate is in November. It is amazing what the fear of losing power will do.

Anybody re-registering to cast a "vote for education" should, before they vote, answer the question "Is it right for the federal government to directly control local schools?" They should then compare their answer with the Governor's action vis-a-vis the Federal School-to-Work program. Without consulting either the legislature or the State School Board, the Governor applied for $16.8 million federal dollars for five years to implement STW in Kansas, and designated the Department of Education to accept and distribute the money to local boards who comply with federal requirements. By doing so, the Governor has raised a constitutional issue, for the state constitution places all responsibility for K-12 education on the State School Board.

STW is an educational disaster. It is based on the belief that only economic-man must be considered by government, that social-man can be ignored, and that the entire process has to be controlled by the anointed elite because individual citizens are utterly incapable of making their own decisions. In a nutshell, statists are using American's infatuation with government schools as the stalking horse for implementation of a federal industrial policy, with bureaucrats controlling what "education" a person receives and what job the person holds. STW turns government schools into producers of dependent workers, not educated, free citizens. When implemented, employers will be able to hire only those who have obtained a Certificate of Mastery, obtainable only in government-approved and controlled schools. (Consider the impact on those who do not obtain their education in a government school.) With money flowing directly from Washington to individual districts, so does the power. The only decision left within the state will be to select the size and color of the "OK" rubber stamp used on Washington's education edicts.

Re-registering can be a two-edged sword. Just as the fear of losing things of this earth can motivate some, so is it that God's Law can motivate others. Some people are suggesting to pro-life Democrats that perhaps they should switch for the primary and vote their conscience, putting life above party labels. The two Republican candidates certainly provide voters with a clear choice in the matter. That this effort is even being considered illustrates how much credence people give to the Governor's pro-life claim.

All may be fair in love, war, and politics, but is it right and proper to contaminate one of the means by which the parties define themselves? Is political sabotage ethical and honorable? If people do switch for the primary, it might just be an indication that the much prophesied party realignment is underway, with people choosing not Republican versus Democrat or liberal versus conservative but freedom versus serfdom.

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