Monday, May 22, 2006

Would-be governors talk book learnin'

If it's Monday, it must be another installment of The Birmingham News' continuing series of "where they stand" stories. Not too many surprises emerge today as we learn how the gubernatorial candidates feel about, well, learning. (Get it? Ah, forget it.)

Gov. Bob Riley and Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley pushed distance learning programs and hiring retired teachers, respectively, as ways to level the educational playing field for rural students. Former Gov. Don Siegelman proposed expansions of head start centers and the Alabama Job Corps to widen the variety of opportunities available to students. And as always, Siegelman touted an education lottery, though his estimate of its revenue is, for some reason, about 10 times higher than it was back in 1999.

Former Chief Justice Roy Moore, meanwhile, suggested private tax credits and school choice were the answers to improve education, though he sidestepped the question of what to do with all of the children left behind in bad schools once the good schools were packed to the gills with transferees. Moore, a self-proclaimed advocate of devolving power to the people, also endorsed state legislation to force mergers of some local school systems.

The latter third of the questioning was devoted to the candidates' feelings on the place of religion in public schools, and the answers show a clear distinction between the contenders looking not to alienate voters -- Baxley and Riley -- and the ones with fewer such concerns -- Moore and Siegelman. Of the four, Siegelman offers the most memorable soundbite: "We need to concentrate on the three R's, and religion isn't one of them." Moore, oddly enough, seems lukewarm on the idea of Bible instruction in public schools, but apparently only because he's afraid "they would distort it."


Anonymous Stephen Gordon said...

Speaking of education, you might wish to check out why Democrat hopeful Joe Copeland wants to turn our schools into eugenics facilities.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Copeland's comments in that interview and on his website don't seem to suggest that he wants to force contraception, etc., on anyone. Instead, he appears simply to want the state to offer such things for free to anyone who chooses them. I also don't see any indication that Copeland wants to use that program as a vehicle to reduce the number of people with any given inheritable mental or physical trait, so it seems unfair to call it "eugenics."

5:55 PM  

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