Like father, like sons: Shrub's and Jeb's antipathy to public schools is inherited
from their daddy

By Tamara Baker


ST. PAUL, Minnesota, Sept. 8 -- By now, most of you have heard of GW Shrub's cockeyed voucher plan -- modeled after the disastrous one his brother Jeb ramrodded through the Florida Legislature.

We're talking about a plan so preposterous that two-thirds of those taking a voluntary CNN Internet poll last week -- a poll that like most Net polls is skewed to be pro-GOP -- voted thumbs down on it. (I guess offering to toss $1,200 at parents to help with private-school tuition to compensate for the destruction of their public school isn't that sweet a deal when you realize, as most parents do, that $1,200 wouldn't cover half a typical semester's worth of tuition, much less a full year's worth, at a private school that even comes close to being halfway decent.)

But you may not know where the Silver Spoon Squadron got their kill-the-patient ideas regarding what is the most important part of the foundations of our democracy.

It seems that, just like their questionable business contacts, their ability to evade real punishment when cornered on various naughtinesses, and their tendency to lose money on any enterprise that isn't subsidized by either their rich friends (their oil and S&L bidnesses) or the government (the Texas Rangers), the BushBabies inherited their distrust of education for the masses from their daddy.

While Poppy was president, he waged war on the public schools, using various weapons. The truth, however, was not among them.

In 1991, through the Department of Energy, he commissioned the world-renowned and world-respected Sandia National Laboratories to do a study comparing the performances of private and public schools nationwide. Bush the Elder fully expected that the study would bear out the conservative Republican dogma stating that private schools are better and that public schools aren't worth supporting.

Boy, was he in for a shock.

The report did find some problems with public schools -- but also found that more, not less, money was the answer to fixing them. Furthermore, it also found that in comparison with private schools, the public schools on the whole did just as good a job as the privates at educating kids -- and sometimes did better.

So what did President Poppy do with this report? Did he heed the facts, even though they blew holes in his theory?

Of course not: He deep-sixed the Sandia Report for the rest of his term in office. It wasn't until Clinton took office in 1993 that it was released to the public.

Remember that, the next time a BushBaby claims to be the savior of education in this country.

Copyright © 1999 Tamara Baker. All rights reserved.

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