Some, though not all, of the advocates of vouchers deceive the public when they propose vouchers for the poor and those children attending ineffective schools. We cannot fail to remember that some of the strongest advocates of vouchers are also the very same people who have consistently opposed every move to improve the lot of the poor and members of the minority community. Thomas B. Edsall wrote an article titled "Jim Crow Alive in Mississippi" for the Washington Post that was reprinted in the April 25 edition of the Arizona Republic. Edsall points out what many of us already know; namely, a number of private schools were established expressly to avoid the integration of public schools. It is no stretch of the imagination to understand the current move to support vouchers is, for some, an opportunity to use the Trojan horse of vouchers as a move ostensibly to improve the educational opportunities of the poor--while, in fact, setting the stage for the eventual public support of private schools.

The double standard in the actions of the conservatives is apparent when they call for ever more checks and monitoring of public schools, while voting against legislation that would impose minimum accountability on charter schools and private schools using vouchers. Kelly Pearce, writing in the May 8, 1999, edition of the Arizona Republic, reports that the Arizona Legislature voted down any proposal to reform charter schools. The Legislature, Pearce wrote, rejected a bill that "would have prevented school districts with financial troubles from sponsoring charter schools, required prospective schools to write a business plan, and would have stopped the practice of giving state money up front." Indeed, so lax is the attitude of some conservative legislators toward charter schools, a proposal to withhold 10 percent of a charter school's funding even if it was violating its contract or state or federal laws, was not passed, according to Pearce.

Writer Ortega makes the point that the Goldwater Institute is using the late senator's name to imply, and leave for the observer to infer, that Senator Goldwater supported vouchers and charter schools. If this is a purposeful misrepresentation, it speaks further to the contradiction in the "market-based education" philosophy, for, in fact, if the idea being proposed were of such compelling virtue, the market would embrace them without alleged mislabeling.

Joseph W. Lee, Ed.D., deputy superintendent
and chief operating officer
Chicago Public Schools (retired)

Youch, That Hurts
To whomever wrote the review about Notting Hill ("Notting Special," Scott Kelton Jones, May 27), I strongly disagree with the tone and attitude. I found the movie to be not only heartwarming, but also to be that kind of feel-good film that convinced me to see it in the theater three times. As a rule, I don't like Hugh Grant as an actor or as an individual, but his performance in Notting Hill left only warm feelings for him in my mind. He grabbed the audience and made every last one of them fall in love with him. The movie gave me perspective and a belief that there are some good things that can come out of a drab and not-always-so-happy life. Past performances for either actor play no part in this film. It was not meant to be an earth-shattering two hours, but merely a moment of enjoyment. I loved the movie all three times I have seen it so far and plan to keep it close to my heart during those unpleasant moments in life. It makes me smile.

Natalie A. Tucker
via Internet

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