November 02, 2005
People for the American Way president Ralph Neas writes in USA Today that the Senate's Katrina package (which includes a provision that will provide vouchers to help support private-school families) is an opportunity for right-wingers "to implement an ideological agenda that has little to do with the hurricane itself." Pot calling the kettle black, eh? Neas may be the king of ideological sound bytes, and he's never met a newsworthy situation that he couldn't spin - including Katrina education relief. He warns against vouchers that "support religious indoctrination" and may contribute to "the unconstitutional use of federal tax dollars to fund discrimination." But stripped of the outrageous language, Neas is merely rehashing the same old anti-voucher talking points. Especially now - when working-class Katrina families who had children enrolled in private schools before the catastrophe are merely trying to regain some continuity in their lives - this overt politicizing is especially unwelcome. Public schools will receive federal funds to cover their Katrina-related expenses, and those private schools that have willingly opened their doors to 60,000 displaced students deserve the same. USA Today agrees, and their editorial in support of the voucher program is a cogent, factual rebuttal to Neas's bald-faced harangue.