Friday, August 11, 2006

He got out somehow

Well, Captain Fishsticks is off his meds again. (Actually, Sticks is grayer than the guy in the picture.) We haven't heard from Sticks since Wednesday, July 26th, until yesterday. In his most recent column, cut and pasted to his blog at the link above, Sticks returns to his favorite rant: gummit schools. Here's the backstory:
As the saying goes, "when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Stillwater resident Karl Bremer grabs a sledge hammer in his Aug. 8 Viewpoint piece "She's says it's No. 1, but is she for it or against it?" His only political tool is guilt by association, so every problem looks like Michele Bachmann, 6th District congressional candidate.

The gist of Bremer's harangue is that it is somehow inconsistent for Bachmann to say that public education is "her number one issue" and accept campaign contributions from individuals who have signed the proclamation of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, which favors "ending government involvement in education." In his effort to politically nail Bachmann, Bremer pounds on contributors to the Alliance as "public education abolitionists" who "want to kill public education."

No Sticks, Spot believes the saying is: When your hammerhead is a tool, you'd better check out the people who are supporting her.

Sticks objects to Bremer's use of the the term "public education" to mean public schools. Well, that's exactlhy what it has meant here since the founding of the state. Definitional sophistry by the likes of Sticks isn't going to change that.

Sticks returns in this column to his juvenile understanding of Minnesota constitutional law. Sticks and Spot have been over this a couple of times. Sticks' crusader's myopia apparently makes it hard for him to read. A couple of quotes from our seafaring legal scholar:
Section One of Article XIII of the Minnesota state constitution authorizes the Legislature to "establish a general and uniform system of public schools." But within that charge, there is no notion of exclusivity. In other words, the Minnesota constitution requires public schools, but does not limit "public education" to public schools.

No, you knothead (did you catch that nautical reference, boys and girls?), the constitution doesn't "authorize;" it directs, requires, and mandates that the Legislature establish a "uniform" system of public schools. It doesn't mention "public education" as somehow distinct from "public schools" anywhere. Sticks' contention is pure gas baggery.

Now Sticks delivers the one-two punch:
Section Two of Article XIII prohibits direct state support for "schools wherein the distinctive doctrines, creeds or tenets of any particular Christian or other religious sect are promulgated or taught," but it does not prohibit individual parents who receive educational vouchers from freely using them at religious schools, provided (courts have ruled) there are other non-religious alternatives.

Again Sticks' eyes, and perhaps his mind, fail him. The language in section 2 is NOT "direct state support," it is that public money or property may not be "appropriated or used" for sectarian schools. The very first time, and every time thereafter, that a sectarian school tried to cash a state-issued voucher, it would violate the MInnesota Constitution. Period. End of story.

Spot has written often on this issue, most recently in School vouchers redeaux which has links to some of the earlier posts on the subject.

By the way SD41 voters, Geoff MIchel is a supporter of school vouchers.

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