Your kids gotta gotta gotta have faith
Annotated highlights from President Bush's "Summit on Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools":
... America's inner-city faith-based schools are closing at an alarming rate. And so that's why we've convened this summit: to discuss how we can extend lifelines of learning to all America's children (without properly funding public schools, that is).
The problem is, is that while the No Child Left Behind Act is helping to turn around many struggling schools, there are still children trapped in schools that will not teach and will not change. (Student: "Teacher, what is 7+5?" Teacher: "That would be telling!")
Can you imagine what it would -- what it's like to be an immigrant coming to America, can't hardly speak the language, and find great solace in two institutions -- one church and two schools? (Nope, I can't hardly imagine language problems.)
In neighborhoods where some people say children simply can't learn, the faith-based schools are proving the nay-sayers wrong. These schools provide a good, solid academic foundation for children. They also help children understand the importance of discipline and character. (Wouldn't want them to turn out to be warmongers, torturers, or abandoners of people in need, would we?)
Between 2000 and 2006, nearly 1,200 faith-based schools closed in America's inner cities. (But, hey, you gotta sell some real estate to pay that boy-rape tab!)
The impact of school closings extends far beyond the children that are having to leave these classrooms. The closings place an added burden on inner-city public schools that are struggling. And these school closings impoverish our country by really denying a future of children a critical source of learning not only about how to read and write, but about social justice. (Social justice, as in starving public schools of funds while pissing away $3 trillion on a murderous, backfiring whim).
We have an interest in the health of these centers of excellence; it's in the country's interest to get beyond the debate of public/private, to recognize this is a critical national asset that provides a critical part of our nation's fabric in making sure we're a hopeful place. (If we silence the debate, we can do whatever we want with public funds!).
And so I want to spend a little time talking about what can be done to help preserve these schools and provide, more importantly, a hopeful future. And that's what you're going to do after I leave, as well. (Assuming the brain-chips have been implanted.)
We got beyond the social service debate by saying that it's okay to use taxpayers' money to provide help for those who hurt. ("We said it, and you bought it. Literally!")
My whole theory of life was we ought to be asking about results, not necessarily process. When you focus on process you can find all sorts of reasons not to move forward. If you say focus on results, it then provides an outlet for other options than state-sponsored programs -- which is okay. (When you focus on process, you get hung up about silly things like budget deficits, disaster relief, habeas corpus, FISA, international law, and common decency.)
I mean, what I'm telling you is that we're using taxpayers' money (those same tax dollars that dare not be spent on stupid ol' public schools) to empower faith-based organizations to help meet critical needs throughout the country -- critical needs such as helping a child whose parents may be in prison understand there's hope; a critical need is helping a prisoner recently released realize there's a hopeful tomorrow; a critical need is to help somebody whip drugs and alcohol ("hey, that sounds good -- anyone got a blender?") so they can live a hopeful life.
We're using taxpayers' money to enable somebody to go to a private university, a religious university. ("Why? Because our invisible sky God told us to!")
See, one of the -- what's very important to make sure that an accountability system works is there's actual consequences and outlets. ("Oh, shit. That was out loud!")
And one of the outlets would be if you're in a public school that won't teach and won't change, and you're -- qualify, here's a scholarship for you to be able to have an additional opportunity. ("Me talk pretty, huh?")
Faith-based schools can continue to serve inner-city children requires a -- (A what? A shredding of the first Amendment?) to see that that happens requires a commitment from the business community. It's in corporate America's interest that our children get a good education, starting in pre-K through 12th grade. ("In the economy I'm leaving your kids, they'd better pray they can get jobs.")
Citizens -- you know, we're a -- we are a compassionate nation. (Ask anyone in the world, they'll tell ya!)
What I see is America at its very best, which is these millions of acts of kindness and generosity that take place, and it doesn't require a government law. ("We don't need no revenooers with their fancy'government law,' do we?")
Sometimes it takes a little higher authority than government to inspire people to acts of kindness and mercy. ("You've seen the way I govern. Inspired? I can't hardly imagine so.")
You've got to be a little worried in our society when somebody says, I don't think I want to measure. That's like saying, I don't want to be held to account. The problem with that line of reasoning is that when you're dealing with our children, it's unacceptable. ("Yes, I know Scooter sounds like a child's name, but believe me, he's above the accountability age.") Of course you should be held to account. (Not me. I said you.)
If you set low standards, guess what you're going to get? Low results. (Who knew?)
And so let me close with what happened at National Stadium with His Holy Father. When he celebrated mass there, one of the objects he blessed at the end of the mass was the new cornerstone of the Pope John Paul the Great High School in Arlington, Virginia. Isn't that interesting? (Erm, no.)