Monday, November 29, 2004

Alabama: Now Two Centuries Behind

No such thing as a free education. At least not in Alabama. In one of those decisions that would make me shake my head if it didn't make me want to howl in despair, Alabama has decided that it's just fine with segregated schools, thank you very much.

I keep reading letters from Southerners who whine that we in the North look down on them, but when people decide that the state is not compelled to pay for public education, the height from here is dizzying.

According to a spokesman for, sigh, the Alabama Christian Coalition, amending the Alabama Constitution to remove language that legalized segregation had nothing to do with racism. Of course it didn't. It was about that goddamned federal government again.

"The amendment had two main parts: removal of the separate-schools language and the removal of a passage - inserted in the 1950s in an attempt to counter the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling against segregated public schools - that says Alabama's constitution does not guarantee a right to a public education.

Opponents cite tax concern
Leading opponents, such as Alabama Christian Coalition President John Giles, said they did not object to removing the passage about separate schools for "white and colored children." But, employing an argument ridiculed by legal experts, Giles and others said guaranteeing a right to a public education would have opened a door for "rogue" federal judges to order the state to raise taxes to pay for better schools.

I mean, it didn't take much research to find all the data about levels of education and income in Alabama. Guess what? They're not in the top half of the country in either category. (If you do a google search, you'll find loads of PDF files with the documentation.)

The North's record on segregation is fraught with some pretty vicious fights, but at least we agree that education is a universal right. If that makes us elitists, well, so be it. Lux fiat.


Sheryl said...

And it would never occur to the folks in Alabama that their behavior towards taxation might actually be the cause for the wretched conditions they live in. Go figure.

lorraine said...

I've been trying and trying to post a comment to your blog and it won't let me. Blogger hates me. I'll try again later.

J.R. Boyd said...

I'm speechless.

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