This is an idea I love, out of the blogosphere, via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, who writes:
We discussed this here a few months ago:
Pay attention to the former Headmaster of Sidwell Friends School (where Chelsea Clinton, went, and Malia and Sasha Obama currently attend), who seems utterly baffled as to why a program that is so clearly a good and necessary thing is so despised by the Democrat party, and ignored by a President who himself went to private schools on scholarship. Also, listen to Virginia Walden Ford, the Executive Director of DC Parents for School Choice; the lady who speaks as a mother and states it plainly: “…this is one of the few programs that is government funded that is working.”
The voucher program, begun under President George W. Bush, was working very effectively. Yes, it was a “bandage” measure meant to staunch one gaping wound in an educational system that is bleeding out from every limb, but when a bandage is all you have, you apply it where it does the most good; helping kids escape failing schools was a good application. Education has become so politicized that a meaningful “fix” may take decades; our kids can’t wait for that.
Reynolds updated his link with thoughts from one of his readers:
I keep thinking -hard- about what an amazing example the DC Voucher program could be… if it was really adopted as a cause celebre on the right. Not just as a punchline, but as a going concern. There just aren’t that many recipients, and there’s a mighty strong overlap in DC between “underprivileged” and “permanent Democrat voters.” And these identical voters are personally steamed. They can recognize being completely jobbed. If there’s one spot to push to shatter this particular unholy alliance, it is precisely this spot.
Think of it as a reverse-ACORN. Scholarships are strictly need based – not race based. An endowment focused on K-12 instead of higher education. I’m not quite sure the Glenn Reynolds DC Scholarship Fund has quite enough panache . . .but just think of the same idea with different marquee players:
The Ronald Reagan Scholarship Fund.
The Rush Limbaugh Scholarship Fund.
The Sarah Palin Scholarship fund.
“The conflict between voluntary charity and progressive tax-funded spending is a very interesting potential battleground. Progressives want to shift away from charitable giving and toward taxes, while libertarians (or civil societarians) ought to be aiming for the reverse.”
Political considerations aside, I just think this is a terrific way to help effect genuine change for the better in the lives of our children (and thus in the life of our nation. My immediate thought ran along these lines: My blog may be small, but it has the best and most generous readers around; wouldn’t it be great if we could establish an “Anchoress Scholarship Fund for DC,” where we raise enough each year to purchase a voucher for one student? And other bloggers could do the same thing! I could imagine a Glenn Reynolds Scholarship Fund, and Althouse-Meade Scholarship Fund, the First Things First Fund for DC, the HotAir DC Scholarship Fund, the Small Dead Animals Fund, the Blogs Lucianne Loves Fund for Scholarships, the Deacon’s Bench DC Fund and Little Miss Attila Fund for Student-Warriors (the recipient might be required to identify Attila…).
Then I realized that a million bloggers creating a million funds might end up -like messy big government- being too sprawling and disorganized to be effective, accountable and measurable.
So, why not streamline the effort? Why can’t we take a page from the Soldier’s Angels and Project Valor, whereby bloggers and their readers are encouraged to fund-raise and donate to the scholarship fund under the aegis of their favorite site. The Anchoress, being a smaller site, might only be able to send one kid to a better school, while a huge site like HotAir or Malkin or Gateway Pundit might be able to help dozens. The centralized collection makes it manageable, the individual blogger effort makes it fun and competitive, and in the end thousands (perhaps millions) of people who are frustrated by a situation that has not gotten better under the guidance of government will be working together to effect real (not hopeychangey) change in a small but powerful way, while demonstrating some important truths to the whole nation: that government is not the solution to every problem – in fact it is often the lumbering impediment to solutions; that unquestioning allegiance to a political party should never trump one’s allegiance to the nation-at-large; that caricatures and stereotypes have had their day and should have no part in 21-Century American determinism.
I’d like to be in on the creation of such an effort. I think this is a terrific and positive note on which to begin a new year, particularly one in which governmental leadership suggests itself to be moribund and completely mad. If something like this were to succeed, it could even be expanded to include vocational training and apprenticeships for those who would prefer to learn the sort of blue-collar, non-outsourceable and completely respectable jobs that so many of our young people no longer consider because the “you’re nothing without a degree” narrative has become so all-consuming.
Cold Fury: is liking this notion, too
I think this post gets filed under “Remaking America,” and “Crisis and Opportunity,” although it is not in the Obama/Emmanuel Way.
O/T – in other New Year’s News, Bookie has a sobering round up
Speaking of sobering…
For the new year: Some Predictions from Inside Catholic