|HARRISBURG, Pa., June 16,
1999 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Tom Ridge today said the
leaders of the education establishment continue to find new lows
in their effort to keep children trapped in low-performing
The latest outlandish statement came from
Harrisburg School District Superintendent Lucian Yates, who said
on WGAL-TV last night that school choice would create "Hitlerian
"First, we're accused of creating an
ethnic cleansing like the war in Kosovo," Gov. Ridge said.
"Then, we're following in the footsteps of a brutal Third
World dictator. Then, we're told that school-choice grants would
be used to defend pedophiles. Now, we are told that school
choice would replicate Nazi Germany.
"The opponents of school choice will do
anything to conceal the fact that they are fighting tooth and
nail to keep kids trapped in failing schools. School choice
represents opportunity for children trapped in failing schools.
It's as simple as that.
"And it's an opportunity that parents and
children in those districts dearly want. That's why poll after
poll shows that the residents of communities with failing
schools overwhelmingly WANT school choice, so they can have
additional options to do right by their kids. And the education
establishment is trying to keep them from getting that choice.
"In the meantime, Superintendent Yates,
charged with overseeing the education of more than 8,000 of our
children, should explain to all of us -- but particularly to
Jewish Pennsylvanians who support school choice, such as members
of the Agudath Israel of America -- why exactly he believes that
those who support school choice are tantamount to the regime
that perpetrated the Holocaust. And while he's at it, he should
explain why more than half the children entrusted to his care
are failing reading and math, when he spends more taxpayer money
per pupil -- nearly $9,000 per pupil -- than 89 percent of the
school districts in Pennsylvania, and more than every district
in Dauphin County.
"The opponents of choice in Pennsylvania
are making national news. Today, The Wall Street Journal felt
the need to comment on the recklessness of their debate -- and
that was even before we heard the latest hate from
Superintendent Yates. "The simple fact is that the
education establishment is fighting for its own interests, not
for our kids."
For more information about Gov. Ridge's
education-reform initiatives, visit the state website at
www.state.pa.us and click on "Education Reform." or
contact Tim Reeves, Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania Office
of the Governor, 717-783-1116