creased spending (both public and private)rnis part of tlic problem of Americanrneducation, not its solution.rnThe September 2000 issue of FoimdationrnWatch, a publieahon of the CapitalrnResearch Center in Washington, D.C.,rnreveals diat private companies and foundationsrn—including the Walter F. AnnenbergrnFoundation, the Wallace-Reader’srnDigest Funds, the Bill and MelindarnGates Foundahon, the Carnegie Corporation,rnthe Soros Foundation, and thernWalton I^’amiK Foundation —have enrichedrnthe coffers of public schools withrnmillions of dollars in recent ears. Atrnbest, the monev —when used for suchrnthings as programs to increase readingrnscores —has had little or no effect; inrnman cases, parhcularlv when it is spentrnon technology, the money has actuallvrnharmed public educahon. “Progressive”rnconservatives who believe that computersrnwill radically improve public educahonrnshould pa’ close attention to a 1998 stud’rnb^ Harold Wenglinsky of the EducationalrnTeshng Serice. Foundation Watch reportsrnthat Wenglinsk found that “computerrndrills liad no effect on fourth gradersrnand a large negative impact… on eighthrngraders,” while frec[uent computer use atrnschool “had a negative impact on scoresrnof .students in both g r a d e s . . . “rnFoundation Watch attributes the failurernof private philanthropists to improvernpublic schools to the nature of public educationrnitself, suggesting diat “tlie privaternsector [is I simplv buttressing a failed go’-rnernmenl sstcm that is resistant tornchange.” While there is something tornthat anahsis, it’s also true that most pri-rn’ate schools are just as enamored of technolog’rnand the latest (and most expensivernand imtried) curricula as are publicrnschools. Tlie systemic problems ofrnAmerican public education have infectedrnprivate education as well.rnThe public schools in my hometownrnin Michigan spend considerablv morernper student todav’ than they did when Irnwas growing up, but so does the Catholicrnschool —and the qualitv’ of educahon hasrndeclined at both. 1 hose who are concernedrnabout American educationrnshould consider the possibilitv that,rnabove a certain basic level, any monev—rnpublic or private—that is spent on educationrnma have a detrimental effect, becausernit allows schools to set up programsrnthat distract them from their central mission.rnFor my part, I’ll vote for the presidentialrncandidate who vows to eliminaternthe Department of Education while urgingrnschools —both public and private —rnto fire their grant writers and to rcfocusrntheir efforts on teaching the three R’s.rn— Scott P. RichertrnHILLARY RODHAM CLINTONrnwasn’t the only polihcian at the annualrnGay and Lesbian Pride March in Manliattanrnlast June, but she got the most notice.rnThe police had trouble controllingrnthe crowd as she walked behind the RadicalrnFaeries, which featured a luan onrnroller skates who was wearing a silverrncape, a tiara, a jockstrap, and notliingrnelse. Airs. Clinton thought that the absencernof Rick Lazio, her Republican rivalrnfor the New York Senate scat that’s up forrngrabs, was just a shame. How could hernclaim to represent all New Yorkers if hernfailed to show up for the Cav and 1 >csbianrnPride March?rnWell, exactlv. Now that Vermont liasrnlegalized “ga- marriage” and New Yorkrnhas strengthened its “hate crime” laws,rndie homosexual movement seems to bernon a roll, gathering support from justrnabout ever)- direction. But neitherrnHillarv Rodham Clinton nor her lieawa’rnhusband down in Washingtonrnwould allow their place at the leadershiprnof that movement to be questioned.rn”Bill,” as he is called, tried to create a homosexualrnfief in the U.S. military in 1993rnand got his fingers burned. His compromisern”don’t ask, don’t tell” position was arndisappointment to the movement, butrnnot his appointment of hundreds of homosexualsrnto federal posifions.rnBut more recenth’, not to be outdonernby his vife or her like-minded friends inrnhis Cabinet, Bill showed how tar he wasrnwilling to go in a moment of highlv revealingrnpassion. His mi.stake was spectacular,rnconsidering how much is at stakernboth in the presidenhal contest and hisrnspoirse’s Senate race. But even more peculiarrnwas the reaction: There wasn’trnone. It was a ease of Sherlock Holmes’srndog that didn’t bark.rnFirst, last June 23, the President of thernI’nited States —the honorarv chairmanrnof the Bo- Scouts —actuallv issued executivernorder No. 13160 to forbid discriminationrnon the basis of sexual orientationrnin federal education and training programs.rnFive days later, the Supremern(jourt ruled by a margin of one vote thatrnthe Boy Scouts could indeed exclude homosexualsrnas nrembers or leaders. Thenrnthe pressure groups got bu,sy. Chicagornand San Francisco and other cities revokedrnthe Bov Scouts’ access to public facilities.rnCorporations (Chase ManhattanrnBank, some Ihiited Wav chapters) vvididrevvrnsponsorship, and the White Housernstaff was on the phone to other governmentrnagencies, putting in place the edictrnthat would bar the annual Boy ScoutrnJamboree from being held on federalrnland (Fort A.P. Hill). As things began tornspiral out of control, Attorncv GeneralrnJanet Reno was once again called to putrnout the fire and cover for Bill. She ruledrnon September 1 (a Fridav night, which isrnvv hen you do things if von want themrnplaved down in the national news) thatrnBill’s edict did not mean that the BovrnScouts couldn’t camp on federal land,rneven though the Interior Departmentrnand the Jusfice Department, prodded bvrnthe White House, had quietly let it bernknown that Bill’s temper tantrum meantrnwhat it said. So cooler heads (a call fromrnthe Core campaign?) prevailed after a bitrnof heat, and the honorary chairnran ofrnthe Scouts was caught trying to punishrntheiri after he sniffed the wind about thernSupreme Court decision. Somebodv figured,rn”Take it easv. Bill. AAer Al gets in,rnwe’ll take care of the one vote margin.rnAnd who knows —mavbe the nomineernwill be Hillarv’!”rnBut what was the response to one ofrnthe most absurd episodes in Americanrnhistorv’? Gore and Licberman were quietrnas mice. George W. Bush let on that hernwas “troubled.” And the House votedrnagainst a bill to revoke the charter of thernBoy Scouts of America, 362 to 12. Democratsrnactually called that bill, sponsoredrnb)- Lynn Woolsev (D-CA), an attempt tornembarrass them. And that was die end —rnthere was no reaction worth mentioning.rnThe conspiracy of homosexuals —no,rnmake that “governing liberals” — to underminernAmerican values in the form of arnlong-established boys’ association madernzero impact on the public, nor was itrnseized as an issue bv the Republicans duringrnan election year. The result looks likernanother eonspiracv — a conspiracv, bvrnthose who hav e something to lose, to lose.rnAnd that is as it should be. Anv creaturernor politv that does not respond to aggressionrnis doomed. The “happiness” orrncomplacency of the American peoplernwill not be disturbed by truth, nor can itrnbe. Revolutionarv reconstruction of therncidture can proceed without protest, signifiedrnby the smiley-fece of Hillarv’ RodhamrnClinton, who has “always fought forrnchildren” in an abstract and gov ernmentalrnwav. And the satanic dialectic whichrnNOVEMBER 2000/7rnrnrn