Your Congress at work: Playing ball with education
March 30th, 2011
05:38 PM ET
9 years ago

Your Congress at work: Playing ball with education

Washington (CNN) - You can tell baseball season is just around the corner: Just listen to the House of Representatives debate education reform. During Wednesday's debate over restarting a school voucher program for District of Columbia residents, lawmakers quoted from the noted educators Leo Durocher, Yogi Berra, Satchel Paige (Twice!) and Casey Stengel.

The baseball greats were on the minds of members from both sides of the aisle.

Republican Representative Rob Bishop of Utah led off: "Durocher always said for his team, that, 'I make a great effort to argue for the issues but there are two things against me: The Umpires and the Rules.'" Bishop explained his analogy by saying opponents of vouchers have two things against them: The unique Constitutional relationship between the Congress and the District of Columbia and the "underprivileged kids" who will benefit from the bill.

Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings noted a previous Democratic Congress had allowed a DC voucher program to expire and dismissed the effort to revive it as a "shallow attempt" to "appease the right wing of the Republican party." "My colleague used Leo Durocher. He played with and against Yogi Berra," Hastings continued. "Yogi Berra reminds me, if I were to use an analogy, this is 'Déjà vu all over again.'"

In his next at-bat in the debate, Bishop said, "Since, Mister Hastings also used a baseball reference to tie me, I have to one up him one more time. In the words of the great Satchel Paige, who was consulting a struggling pitcher who was failing to get it over on the corners, he just said, 'Throw the pitch. Just throw strikes. Home plate don't move.'" Bishop explained the voucher program is "one of those strikes."

Hastings tossed it right back at Bishop: "Satchel Paige also said, 'Don't look back.'"

Later in the debate, Bishop tossed-out another baseball analogy. "Casey Stengel, at one time, –talking about, I think, one of the best second basemen ever, Bobby Richardson- said 'I just can't understand it. He doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink, he doesn't stay out at night and he still can't hit .250." Admitting it was a non-sequitur, Bishop then complained he couldn't understand why anyone would oppose the voucher bill because it, "only expands choices for DC's least-financially-blessed school kids."

DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton took the floor to complain about the use of "public money for private schools" and, her voice raised, condemned the Republican proposal: "Self government means nothing if the District of Columbia can still be a dumping ground for every pet project and pet idea of the majority. We have our own pet ideas and will insist on the respect for our own pet ideas and not yours!"

She struck out.

The voucher bill passed 225- 195.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Anthony N.

    Play with our future...and the same thing that happened in Egypt might just happen here....

    March 30, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Joe

    Another cop out by a criminal administration. Who only cares about their own wealth. School are a right not a priviledge.

    March 30, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Remember America...Republicans hate spending taxpayer dollars educating your children! Just look at examples of their biggest "rising stars"...Sarah Palin....Michele Bachman.......Sharon Angle...all ignorant, uneducated liars. Those idiots represent Republican

    March 30, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. willie floyd

    I decided long ago that Reps. don't want an educated public-they know educated people won't vote for them. Our Pres.' focus on education is one of the things I like most about him. Equal education should be available for ALL children.

    March 30, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |

    There are precious few things more wasteful and less productive than federal education programs. All Washington overhead and rewards for the unions - and no help for the kids. Keep it at the state level. CUT CUT CUT!!!!!!

    March 30, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. duckbutter

    washington d c schools are the laughing stock of the country,,,,ah yes but the teachers union want to keep it as is....pathedic....

    March 30, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  7. normajean

    Eric Cantor really blew it today on national television in front of millions of viewers. He described how the Republicans are now passing a bill and his description was absolutely incorrect.!! He obviously knows less about passing a bill than any high schooler today taking a class in politics. How can a man in his position be so inarticulate and arrogant and make a blunder that is so astonishing,???Does he think you and I are so stupid that we haven't learned a thing from the way the Repubs twist things to suit themselves?? Sorry Cantor......We are on to you and your games!!!!! Check the news,folks!!

    March 30, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. annieLD

    For Republicans to make this miniscule "pilot project" their major piece of education legislation is absurd and also insulting to the public school teachers and administrators and board members in the hardest-to-teach schools of America. BTW, it's no mystery that the kids who have used the vouchers to attend private schools made more progress. They had parents who cared enough about their education to get the voucher and get them across town and expected that their kid would work hard and make it worth their effort. Get it? The key is the parents. Always has been, always will be. All public schools really have to do is boot the troublemakers out of the classroom, just like the private schools do.

    March 30, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Vouchers are a thinly-veiled attempt to funnel taxpayer dollars to church schools. The public schools take every kid of every race, culture and academic ability-level. Private schools can reject "undesirables" and brainwash others with their own flavor or religious doctrine. Tax money should never, ever be provided to schools unless those schools do not teach religion, admit every applicant, and those are truly accessible to every child. School taxes are like highway taxes. Even if I live in a gated community, with roads provided to a select few, I still need to contribute to the funding of the road system. I can't expect the taxpayer to fund my elite neighborhood's roads. It's my choice to live in the fancy neighborhood, but those from the "other side of the tracks" shouldn't do without my public contribution. This is more of the same class warfare – with Republicans representing the rich.

    March 30, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |

    Thank you Rep. Bishop!!! And thank you to Speaker Boehner for standing up for the unprivledged kids in D.C. that would be forced to go to some pretty bad public schools if they were left to Delegate Norton's hands. GOP 2012!!!

    March 30, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |