mainly hostile reexamination of annexperiment that has gone on for twondecades. The indictment includes thenusual charges of nepotism, politicalncronyism, ethnic politics, graft, andncorruption, but the situation is aggravated,nso the critics claim, by the powernthat has been transferred to the smallerndistrict boards.nThe whole argument is academic,nsince, in fact. New York public educationnwas never decentralized. Therenare only 32 boards overseeing over 800nschools with over 650,000 students.nThe election was so complicated thatnmany parents were deterred from voting,nand the whole system was turnednover to the political gangsters who runnNew York on a day-to-day basis.nTo make matters worse, not onlynwere the local boards supposed toncontrol far too many schools, but theynwere never given the sort of real powernover policies and personnel that wouldnhave spurred parents into taking annactive role. In government there is nonpower that does not include controlnover the purse strings. The local councilsnwere designed, more or less, as ansop to ethnic politicians who felt theynweren’t lapping enough of the fat offnthe government gravy. The only thingnworse than the current system wouldnbe an increased involvement of thenstate government and that fearless defendernof the rights of bureaucrats,nMario Cuomo. Inevitably, Mr.nCuomo has set up a New York statencommission to review the problem.nNone of New York’s entirely predictablenhorror stories should deter thendeconsolidation experiment underwaynin Dade County, Florida or the muchadvertisednChicago plan due to takeneffect in July of 1989. Chicago is anstrong contender for the honor ofnworst school system in the nation,nwhich is some sort of indication thatnthe “professionals” may not know whatnis best for our children. In a verynimportant study released by the HeartlandnInstitute and the United RepublicannFund of Illinois, We Can RescuenOur Schools, incontrovertible evidencenis presented to prove that smaller districtsnand parental control are amongnthe most significant factors in determiningna good school. The book,nwhich is clearly written in a popularnstyle, ought to be in the hands of everynparent and taxpayer in the country. It isnavailable for $ 1.75 (with bulk discountsnavailable) from Green Hill Publishers,nInc., P.O. Box 738, Ottawa, IL 61350.nThe Chicago plan avoids most ofnthe pitfalls of the New York experiment.nEach school will be governed bynits own council, and six out of elevenncouncil members must be parents ofnstudents and elected by parents. Thenbiggest opponents of the plan wereneducational professionals who looknupon parental involvement with fearnand loathing. Much of the debate innChicago turned downright racist, asnthe establishment attempted to give thenimpression that the city’s entire blacknpopulation consisted of teenage mothersnand drug dealers. Leaders of (mostlynblack) parents’ groups quite rightlynobjected. All they are asking for, theyninsist, is the chance to lend a hand inncleaning up the terrifying mess thatnenlightened bureaucrats have made.nBut the politicians and sociologistsnwho bray so loudly of democracy havenno intention of granting power to thenpeople. If democracy in America evernmeant anything, it did not mean ournelaborate system of influence brokeringnpresided over by Congressionalnstaffers, civil servants, and social sciencesnprofessors. It meant local controlnof local affairs and a stubborn refusal tonlet the government intrude too far intonprivate life. Today, in the mouths ofnglobal democrats, it seems to meannsomething like the African system ofn”one man, one vote, one time.” Inn1932, by electing Franklin RooseveltnPresident for Life, we apparently declarednthat government by the government,nof the government and for thengovernment shall not perish from thenearth. God willing, the people ofnChicago — saddled with an abysmalneducational system and a city governmentnthat brings Pulitzers to the reportersnwho cover it—may reclaimnsome small part of their Americannbirthright. (TF)nHUMAN RIGHTS PROGRESS innthe Soviet Union is the latest gimmicknfor headline writers. In just two monthsnthe Soviets have made such strides thatnon January 3, our outgoing secretary ofnstate—with only two weeks left innwhich to make mischief—advisednRonald “Evil Empire” Reagan to gonahead with plans for a human rightsnconference in Moscow in the yearn1991. Even The New York Times concedednthat “rights talks in Moscownwould be an important achievementnfor Mikhail S. Gorbachev.”nMr. Schultz has never been conspicuousnfor his good sense, but if henprevails upon his President and hisnPresident’s successor to eat this particularlynunsavory crow, he will deservensome special recognition as the AmericannNeville Chamberiain.nDare I say we told you so lastnDecember? This human rights nonsensenis bad enough as a cynical tool ofnAmerican foreign policy, but it is onenof those clumsy explosive devices thatnalways manage to blow up the politicalnhooligans who use it. On a purelynpractical level we have much to discussnwith the leaders of the USSR on issuesnthat involve the self-interest of bothnparties. Neither name-calling nor sentimentalitynis of any use in negotiationsnthat call for a Metternich or a Bismark.n(We’re stuck with Cyrus Vance andnGeorge Schultz.) It was bad enough tonexploit the victims of Soviet oppressionnas a pawn in our little diplomaticngames, but as of January 3, 1989, thenSoviet Union became a free country.nWhat a difference a day made.nIt is now up to George Bush (I nevernthought I’d be saying this) to restorensome sanity to American foreign policy.nIf he persists in these childishnexperiments in human rights and globalndemocracy, we shall all live to seenthe day when it is the US whosenhuman rights record is the object ofninternational obloquy. (TF)nM O V I N G ?nLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!nTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofnChronicles, please notify us in advance.nSend change of address onnthis form with the mailing label fromnyour latest issue of Chronicles to:nSubscription Department, Chronicles,nP.O. Box 800, Mount Morris, Illinoisn61054.nNamenAddress .nCitynnnState JZip.nMARCH 1989/7n