As many of you are aware, in January I published an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee, in which I argued that the problem with the public schools was not lack of money, but instead the burden of “educational nonsense” beloved of liberals—self-esteem, whole language, fuzzy math, bilingual education. However, I also expressed deep skepticism of vouchers, the preferred solution of many conservatives.
The piece was controversial, and while most of the responses were favorable, some prominent conservative voucher supporters were scathing, and distributed a detailed response to my views, although one which did not address the specifics of my arguments. I expected that to be the end of the story.
However, my piece was noticed by an editor at The Nation, America’s premier left-wing opinion weekly, who asked me to rework the piece into a Nation editorial. Eager to become (perhaps) the first Reagan Republican ever solicited for a Nation editorial, I did so, then waited, as the Nation editors fought a bitter civil war over several months about whether or not to publish my piece, half of which they loved and half of which they detested.
My piece finally appeared two weeks ago, and Katha Pollitt, a top Nation editor, immediately resigned in protest—her resignation column is attached below.
Once again, conservatives have expressed unhappiness over my article. However, since Katha Pollitt was apparently a source of enormous aggravation to them, several have taken the position that “anything which got rid of Katha Pollitt for us can’t be all bad!”
It’s amazing how much controversy is generated among both Left and Right when an individual rejects a party line and simply speaks his mind on controversial policy questions.
- Voucher Veto by Ron Unz
Nation, Monday, May 3, 1999
- Dunz Cap by Katha Politt
Nation, Monday, May 17, 1999