As a public school teacher, I bitterly resent the political promises that Secretary of Education William Bennett recently made to the Knights of Columbus at their national convention in Washington. Bennett has no business promising the Knights of Columbus that he will pass legislation permitting local school districts to use federal funds to aid parochial schools nor does he have any right to promise "judicial reconsideration to correct the disdain for religious belief."
Bennett's promises are full of malicious mischief and malign intent. Allowing school districts to use U.S. funds to distribute vouchers for private schools will enable many school districts, especially in the Deep South to divert funds from desegregated public schools to support private "segregation academies" which practice flagrant forms of racial discrimination. Bennett's proposals will re-create the dual school system with all its inequities, the very type of educational system which the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka, Kan., dismantled.
Furthermore such actions will convince blacks that their rights have no constitutional guarantees and exist only at the political whims of the dominant political party. It will prove that the current political economic system of America promises black people nothing but oppression, exploitation, and degradation. To enact Bennett's legislative proposals is indeed a recourse filled with dangerous precedents for everyone because when one person's constitutional rights are abrogated, no one's constitutional rights are safe.