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August 01, 1993

Voucher Initiative Needed

* As a public schoolteacher, I am fascinated by all the rhetoric surrounding the school voucher initiative.

Everyone talks about it, but very few--especially teachers--have really read the initiative. It is actually the Parental Choice in Education Initiative.

The state Legislature, the California Teachers Assn., the National Education Assn. and the American Civil Liberties Union have worked hard for many years to produce a school system in California that is unresponsive and even contemptuous of taxpayers and parents.

This system is full of rules and red tape, safe for bureaucrats and progressively more unable to perform its mission.

It cannot remove violent and disruptive students. It can no longer support the thousands of officials, offices and bureaus required by an uncountable number of laws and regulations.

Why are virtually all public school-related organizations and groups loudly criticizing the initiative? The Legislature, Willie Brown, NEA and the CTA are fighting it because they will lose access to money and power if it is enacted.

The CTA is a very powerful financial and political lobby that exchanges favors with people like Willie Brown and others in Sacramento.

All of these political, financial and bureaucratic lobbies are working full time to disinform the public. The CTA alone is spending millions on propaganda against the initiative.

The Parental Choice in Education Initiative may just be our last chance to preserve any form of quality education in the state of California.

I suggest that people get the initiative and read it. Knowledge is power--a power the bureaucrats don't want taxpayers to have.

MICHAEL NEELY

Lancaster

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