The Oregonian has presented what amounts to an advertisement for the right wing Cascade Policy Institute disguised as an OpEd Commentary,A vision that seems stuck in the 20th century (1/22/00) by Steve Buckstein. In his attack on Governor Kitzhaber's January,2000, State of the State Speech, Buckstein makes several false claims about Oregon's public education system and the status of the Oregon Health Plan and concludes by generically hyping his ultra-rightwing think tank. The substance of his comments clearly does not warrant the publication and credibility The Oregonian has afforded them.
In his "In Response" commentary Here's whose vision is stuck in the past) (1/27/00) Jeff Miller has ably rebutted Buckstein's claims that Oregon schools are failing. He also points out that the think-tank's proposals for providing health care protect the bottom lines of major health care corporations, but their voucher plans barely scratch the surface of the health-care needs of hundreds of thousands of Oregonians.
The only basis offered for Buckstein's claim that private schools can satisfy the education needs of Oregon's children far cheaper than the public system is the acceptance by parents of his institute's offer of 550 partial scholarships to send their children to private schools having an average cost of $3,184. He makes no attempt to address the issues of democracy in education, whereby all children can attend, not just the well-prepared, motivated, supported, and healthy students sought by exclusive private schools.
Most egregious of all is Buckstein's attack on the "centralized" system of school funding in Oregon - which he charges is responsible for high costs and poor performance. Quote: "The fundamental problem is a distinctly 20th century one: central control over funding and curriculum." This charge is conspicuously hypocritical considering it was his organization and fellow conservatives who sponsored and promoted Measure 5 which undercut the local control and placed funding of schools in the hands of the state legislature! The responsibility for centralization of school funding is the burden of the right wing tax-cutters.