Sunday, October 03, 2004


This site is called Students Against Dick Durbin (SADD). Some of the issues discussed on this site are relevant to students and non-students alike. Education is another issue that affects everybody, but students in particular have a vested interest in education. And guess what? Dick Durbin's education policies are just plain wrong.

Dick Durbin opposes school choice. He voted against allowing parents to use vouchers to send their children to any publicly-funded school of their choosing. He also voted against letting parents use vouchers to help send their kids to private or religious schools. So, rather than being allowed an alternative, kids attending failing public schools are forced to remain in failing schools, unless their parents move or have enough money to foot the entire bill of a private school education.

Dick Durbin also voted no on eliminating restrictions on federal education funding. Ending such restrictions would give educators or local school districts more flexibility to design and implement their programs. Who is more aware of the particular problems that schools face, the teachers and administrators of those schools, or bureaucrats in Washington, DC? Durbin says the bureacrats know best.

Durbin has also voted against bills containing provisions for educational savings accounts. For instance, Durbin voted against the bi-partsan Affordable Education Act of 2000 sponsored by Sens. Coverdell (R-GA) and Torricelli (D-NJ). The bill would have allowed parents a new way to invest in their children's primary and secondary schooling. Parents would have been able to invest up to $2,000 per year, per child into savings accounts known as A+ accounts. Such accounts would generate tax-free interest, and the money made could have been used for any education-related expenses. Parents would have had a new way to save money for books, computers, and even private school tuitions. And Dick voted against the Affordable Education Act of 2000 and other bills like it.

Dick has a lot of "nay" votes on education, but there is one thing he is willing to say "yea" to: race-based affirmative action. Race-based affirmative action, of course, does not address the real problems that African-American and Hispanic students face. Rather than confronting the fact that too many minority students are receiving insufficient educations during primary and secondary schooling, race-based affirmative action says minority students need leniency in the college admissions process because of their race. If anything, students of all races from disadvantaged communities deserve some leniency in the admissions process. The real problem is economic, not racial. Urban schools need better teachers, better administrators, and better books and resources in order to make sure their students are prepared for college or the work environment. To say that students of a minority race (including those from wealthy families who have received the best possible pre-college educations) deserve special consideration solely because of their race is absurd. The standards for admission should consider potential students' abilities and character, not their race.

Dick Durbin: wrong on education.