Monday, August 09, 2004

Updated August 9, 2004; 1:15 am

Moral principle affects every single issue that we confront?

Jeff Berkowitz: Ambassador Keyes, Barack Obama has said before you came into this [senate] race that this race is about education, healthcare and jobs. Now that you are in the race, is it about Gays, Guns and Abortion?

Ambassador Keyes: This race is about moral principle. And, moral principle affects every single issue that we confront. One of the great problems, for instance, with education in our country today is that we have sought to have a kind of value free public education system, and it has turned out that that does not produce good results. We have an education system that is based on bureaucratic government domination- that has pushed parents to the sidelines and de-emphasized their important choice and responsibility. Those issues are issues of moral challenge and moral responsibility. It is not just a question of budgets and curriculum. And, I think we all know this. I live right now next door to the Capitol of the country where 9,000 to 10,000 dollars per capita is spent on the student and they don’t get good results. We know that throwing money at the educational system is not the key. We have also seen the good results that have been obtained from Charter Schools, and from schools where parents have the choice to send their kids to faith based education programs at much lower cost that actually produce better results. So, I think we know that the debate relates to things other than the question of money and dollars and that those questions have to do with how you form conscience and character and commitment; how you focus our young people on the responsibilities of their lives, so that they take the challenge of education seriously- not just as a doorway to material things, but as a way to make sure that they will meet the responsibilities of parenthood- the responsibilities to their community that they will take seriously because they are willing to meet the moral challenges of their lives.

Ambassador Keyes Press Conference, August 8, 2004.

Jeff Berkowitz, Host and producer of “Public Affairs,” can be reached at