Cal  Thomas

Read that again: "student performance is abysmal." Not flat, or slowly improving, but abysmal!

Addressing what it says is a "common myth that school-voucher programs drain financial resources, as well as the best and brightest students from public schools," the letter says, "the evidence proves otherwise. Research on voucher programs' effects on the finances of public schools shows that these programs actually save money at both the state and local level. Furthermore, as a recent study by the (liberal) Brookings Institution indicates, these programs do not 'cream' the best students from the public school system."

The ADL letter says nine major studies on the systemic effects of vouchers on public schools found positive effects on public schools: " programs complement public education by spurring the public system, as a result of competition, to perform better. No study has found that school choice makes public schools worse."

Liberals have been on the wrong side of this issue for years. Conservatives have demonstrated their superior "compassion" by favoring vouchers that would allow poor children the best chance to climb out of poverty and not repeat their parents' mistakes. If Republicans can't win with this issue by attracting more minority voters with children in failing schools, they don't deserve to remain a viable political party.

The June 14 vote by the National ADL board has nothing to do with church and state. It has to do with whether the minds of minority children will be wasted, or nourished in a way that will allow them to make something of themselves. That ought not be a political issue. It should be a moral issue for the ADL and everyone else.

In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled a Cleveland voucher program constitutional. What's keeping vouchers from spreading across the nation? -- Politicians who have agendas other than a child's welfare. Liberty began in Philadelphia. Maybe it has begun anew.

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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