“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” –Patrick Henry
The Republic from Columbus Indiana reports that the Jefferson County School Busing program doesn’t look too good to two of the three judges on a Kentucky appeals court. Opinions of a third jurist were not revealed during the hearing which did not render a final ruling in the case.
The news article reports that Judge Kelly Thompson said:
“I’d like to ask that you concentrate on neighborhood schools and get out of the courtroom. You’ve got more litigation than any school district in the country.”
Thompson said the school district needs to abandon plans that bus students way across Jefferson County.
The news story says that a second judge, Thomas Caperton, is apparently leaning in the same direction as Judge Thompson. Thoughts of the third panel member, Judge Sara Combs, who is the widow of former Gov. Bert T. Combs, remain unknown.
The legal issue under debate concerns a provision in Kentucky law that says if a large area is consolidated into a single school district, then parents have the right to “enroll” their children in a neighborhood school. Such a large area combination occurred years ago when several school districts in the Jefferson County area were consolidated into the enormous Jefferson County School District, which is one of the nation’s 50 largest today.
The school district contends that the term enroll only refers to the act of registering a student but does not guarantee attendance at that school. The parents contest this is just Jefferson County lawyers playing on wording and the statute clearly intended to allow parents to determine that their child would attend a neighborhood school and would not be involuntarily transferred at the whim of Jefferson County school bureaucrats to another school that could be more than a one hour school bus ride away.
In fact, some of those Jefferson County school bus rides are proving to be considerably longer than one hour, as I mentioned recently.
That probably starts to look like child abuse to reasonable adults.
People vote with their feet. We have written before about how 3 times as many people move to Tennessee than Kentucky because of lower tax rates and school choice laws.
Another reason may be that people want to live somewhere they don’t have to be forced into joining a labor union. Tennessee is one of 22 states that has Right-to-Work laws which make it illegal to deny employment based on association with a labor union.
WXIX news reports the Jefferson County school bus plan is headed for another court review to see if it complies with state law.
The Jefferson County school bus system requires some students to take bus rides clear across Louisville – trips that take more than an hour one way – even though schools are located much closer to a child’s residence and parents don’t want their children on the bus for so long.
The busing plan is an outgrowth of 40 years of busing to achieve integration. But, after four decades, if this idea was going to work, don’t you think by now the city would have been naturally integrated as minorities got better educations that enabled them to get better jobs and move to the more affluent and desirable parts of the city?
It will be interesting to see what the court decides.
Hopefully, a press release from the Association of American Educators is going to spur teacher union bosses to make some changes.
The press release points to results from a recent Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup poll that shows:
“…71% of respondents said that they have trust and confidence in America’s teachers. However, when asked about the teacher unions, 47% say they believe the unions have hurt education, compared to only 26% believing the unions have helped education.”
Clearly, a lot of Americans are unhappy about current union influence on education. With such a small percentage of the public believing teachers’ unions are helping, as the Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup Report Highlights says:
“Teacher union leaders should thoughtfully consider what actions they could take to improve their public image.”