New Argument Against Vouchers: Your Kid Might Have to Ride the Bus

NEA president Dennis Van Roekel appeared on PBS Newshour in the wake of the Indiana Supreme Court decision to debate “Should Public Money Be Used for Private Schools?”

It went routinely along the lines of the usual talking points, until the end, when Van Roekel was asked:

All right, Dennis, what about the idea that we have this system where G.I. Bills, Pell Grants, and for post-secondary education, we’re taking taxpayer money and distributing it through people to whatever school that they’re interested in? Why is it so different for primary and high school education and kindergarten?

To which he replied:

I think post-secondary education, college and university, I think you have to put that into a different category than K-12 education, because then you’re choosing between a career or college and specialized training. That definitely makes sense. But for young children, they shouldn’t have to be bussed somewhere. It should be in their neighborhood.

Van Roekel then went on for a few sentences about teachers teaching out of their area of expertise and how he was a math teacher - which means he is very familiar with tangents.

I’m sure Van Roekel is aware that an awful lot of K-12 public school students are riding the bus to school right now, particularly since his union represents tens of thousands of school bus drivers. So let’s play that popular game “What He Really Meant Was…”

You can start off by saying “What He Really Meant Was… neighborhood public schools should be improved so parents won’t have to send their kids to a voucher school out of their neighborhood.” Then I’ll say, “What He Really Meant Was… we should have voucher schools in every neighborhood.”

It’s fun! See how many interpretations you can come up with.