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Using Kids as Pawns

Something is seriously wrong with the scenario spelled out here:

Anyway, I went on to read the Governor describe some of the tactics the campaign used and the fact that we focused on the education community – teachers, parents and educational employees – to get out the vote. On the 2nd or 3rd page of the discussion, the Gov references one specific tactic familiar to me: having kids come home from school with a label on their shirt that read: “Mom & Dad – Don’t forget tomorrow is Election Day!”

I hate to brag, but that sticker thing was actually my idea! I got it when my son came home from school with similar stickers on his shirt to remind parents about PTA meetings and other important school functions. So, while I can’t claim credit for the concept, it was my idea to use them on the campaign. And it’s mentioned in his book! I don’t know, but I think that’s pretty cool. I may not be famous yet, but my sticker idea is now.

This campaign tactic raises a whole lot of ethical questions. Who paid for these stickers? Did it come out of education funds? If they were paid for by a campaign, did they have the proper disclaimer? Was this a statewide endeavor, or only targeted to certain areas? Didn’t anyone think that using innocent children as walking billboards without parental permission was wrong?

Education is about children. The two constitutional amendments were about raiding the permanent fund and a pointless exercise in reorganizing a government bureaucracy. We already know that neither of these acts has had any positive impact in the performance of our schools or our kids’ test scores. If anything, our children are worse off today than they were prior to these constitutional changes.

The fact that Governor Richardson heralds “the brilliance” of this strategy in his book illustrates perfectly that he, and those around him, will put personal political agendas ahead of all else.