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Another example of the educational inequality is the current debate over publicly financed school vouchers which will provide educational opportunities to a privileged handful, but deprive public schools of desperately needed resources.
When I was mayor of New York, my views changed. I began as mayor of New York City thinking that I could reform the New York City school system. After two or three years, four years, I became an advocate of choice, of scholarships, and vouchers, and parental choice, because I thought that was the only way to really change the school system.
Republicans get a lot of money from big business, but they are not tied to the union dollar. As a result they have been aggressive advocates of school reform, charter schools and vouchers for private schools.
While Free Choice Vouchers didn't fulfill my vision of a health care system in which every American would be empowered to hire and fire their insurance company, they were a foothold for choice and competition and a safety valve for Americans whose employers are already forcing them to bear more and more of their family's health insurance costs.
If you're going to have a public subsidy to education, vouchers are clearly a better way of delivering it. They should result in some loosening up and privatization of the government school system.
Many of those who argue for vouchers say that they simply want to use competition to improve public education. I don't think it works that way, and I've been watching this for a longtime.
The reality is that the special interest groups that have lobbied against Free Choice Vouchers object to any measure that would empower employees to have a say in their health benefits because it begins to erode their power in the current health care system.
Most blacks want school vouchers, but most liberals vehemently oppose them. Why? Because what is good for teachers' unions is of more importance to the Left than what is good for blacks. Who, then, is racist? By their own admission, and by the policies they pursue, the answer is the people who call themselves progressive.
I'm totally opposed to vouchers. I will fight them tooth and nail.
With the loss of Free Choice Vouchers, hundreds of thousands of workers will now be forced to choose between their employers' unaffordable insurance or going without health care.
Studies show that recipients of Section 8 vouchers have tended to choose moderately poor neighborhoods that were already on the decline, not low-poverty neighborhoods.
Without Free Choice Vouchers, there is little in the health reform law that discourages employers from increasingly passing the burden of health care costs onto their employees.
President Bush and I had asked Congress to appropriate a half-billion dollars to school vouchers. We didn't get it, and we were disappointed. But we did not go out and form a corporation to pay for it. That would have been a problem.
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