The Friday, September 14, 2012 issue of USA TODAY newspaper had a full page advertisement that caught my eye. The ad had a picture of former Alabama governor George Wallace standing in the door of a school in 1963. Wallace was vowing to keep Blacks out of schools where white students attended. The caption says "Someone New Is Blocking the Schoolhouse Door."
The advertisement was referring to School Unions, but while I disagree with the message of the unions closing the doors of opportunity, I do agree that the door is shut. And not only the schoolhouse door, but other doors of opportunity are closing all around us as well. The Republican Party is busy trying to close the door to the ballot box. They are trying to close the doors of the Post Office. The doors to government sponsored jobs, programs, and even educational loans to go to school are being closed.
Republicans say there is not enough money for all the government programs. After saying that, they are also talking about attacking Iran and other countries in the Middle East whose primary religion is Islam. What should be obvious by now is that the Republicans see government money as being a source of business for making the rich, richer.
Student loans are a prime example. In the past, they were administered by the government. You filled out an application at school and you paid the money back to a government agency. Now, the government gives your tax money to a bank like, say, Bank of America. The bank then loans you the money you need for tuition and books. Then the bank adds administrative costs and their profit. Let's say you borrow $10,000, the bank then adds $1,000 for administrative costs and profit. They don't tell you it is profit, but you know they aren't doing this for free. Now you owe $11,000 to borrow $10,000. Remember the source of the loan is our tax dollars.
Further blocking the schoolhouse doors are Republicans who initiate programs like social promotion and 45-student class sizes. That makes it harder for teachers to teach and destroys students' opportunity to learn. Then they talk about providing better learning opportunities with vouchers which are redeemable at Charter Schools. Charter Schools are privately owned but they are funded from monies intended for public schools. So now a corporation is created to build Charter schools for 5,000 students from a district of perhaps 40,000 students. Result: 5,000 students get better opportunities and 35,000 stay in subpar schools. Why not just return to policies that better educate all the students in all the schools. The answer to that is that there is no profit there.
The Post Office has been a highly successful program since it was created. It was one of the first government jobs for African Americans. When the Republicans were in office a few years ago, they saw the Post Office as a source of money. They came up with a bill that required the Post Office to pay into their pensions years in advance. This action has caused the Post Office to be in financial trouble. They now want to close the Post Office and give the business to private organizations like Federal Express and United Parcel Service (UPS). The result would be a loss of jobs to numerous Blacks, increased costs to the public, and profit for the business owners.
So, in answer to who is standing in the door today, not of just education, but of progress and equality, it is not the unions, it is the Republican/Tea Party. They see profit at every turn. But first they must get back in office at the Presidential level. If they do, they will return us to the days when George Wallace was governor of Alabama, trying to block our opportunities. Remedy: VOTE . . . BEFORE THEY TAKE THAT AWAY!