Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Eric Johnson Should Say What He Means

Sen. Eric Johnson has prefiled legislation that would offer scholarships (read: vouchers) to disabled children who wish to attend private schools, and he has already embarked on a public relations campaign advocating for his idea. Well, it's really not actually his idea. They have tried a similar program in Florida. (Yes, that's right, Florida, the state whose school voucher law was declared unconstitutional.) What Johnson really wants is a broad school voucher program, so why doesn't he just say that? Well, because Georgia is "politically"not ready for school vouchers, or so he has said. So, he's hoping that folks will not look too closely at this seriously flawed bill, and he is hoping to pit parents against teachers and administrators- an all too familiar battle that parents of disabled children face.

Consider this: as this bill is written, for a private school to qualify as a place taxpayers would pay for a disabled child to be educated, the school does not have to demonstrate that they have an appropriate program for a given child. They only have to demonstrate one thing: that the school is financially solvent. That tells me all I need to know about this legislation. Sen. Johnson is using disabled children as a smokescreen in his attempt to make vouchers a reality in Georgia, and that's just wrong.

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