Skip to comments.It's About the Children, Not the System
Posted on 09/13/2013 8:31:14 AM PDT by MichCapCon
The argument that the public education system would improve if every child were forced to attend is so naive and simplistic that it's surprising Slate magazine published a piece arguing exactly that.
In Slate, Allison Benedikt said that every student should attend public school, and that you are a "bad person" if you send your children to a private school. Her argument boils down to the notion that if we are all required to send our children to public schools, we will all be invested in their success. She wrote:
Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment.
Though the Slate article is on the ludicrous end of the spectrum and has been thoroughly debunked in several places already, it reflects a line of thinking that is used to restrict school choice. Benedikt's piece comes on the heels of news that the U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Louisiana to stop allowing children's use of vouchers to attend better schools.
The federal government argues that allowing students to leave failing schools would "disrupt the racial balance in public education systems..." Similar to Benedikt's argument, the department is suggesting that the collective good (as the department perceives it) is worth relegating children to bad schools.
In its suit, the Department of Justice cites schools where the racial balance has shifted imperceptibly in one case by just 0.7 percentage points.
As Cato Institute Policy Analyst Jason Bedrick put it:
Though the students...almost certainly would not have noticed a difference, the racial bean counters at the DOJ see worsening segregation.
An additional irony: Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White has pointed out that the majority of students who use the state's voucher program come from low-income backgrounds and are African American.
It is unfortunate that reasoning as flawed as Benedikt's is being used to force students into schools that do not best serve their needs. A similar argument has been used in Michigan, as well. Last year, State Board of Education President John Austin argued against a proposal to dramatically expand choice, saying that it "... looks a lot like a voucher program" and could have a "... perceived destructive impact on local systems around the state."
Some within the educational system itself have actually used taxpayer dollars to lobby against giving students and parents more options. The Tri-County Alliance, a lobbying organization set up and funded by several Michigan school districts and headed by Oakland Schools Superintendent Vickie Markavitch, was another loud voice advocating against last year's reforms. In a series of town hall meetings, Markavitch said that "competition in education" is "the wrong path to improving student performance."
An educational system without choice is an educational system without accountability. Such a system cannot and will not result in high-quality schools. Limiting educational options for students to preserve a flawed system is a travesty.
Schools which provide a good education will attract students.
Schools which provide a poor education will lose students.
The concept is "accountability". Liberals oppose it. They'd rather just blame the racist Republicans.
When something doesn't work, the leftist solution is always the same: Metastasize it.
This reminded me of something else liberals have advocated.
That all young adults had to have federal employment at some point: either the military, the Peace Corps, perhaps some federal police agency, whatever.
Essentially a universal draft to work for the feds.
When Obama leads by example and puts his kids in Washington D.C. public schools, I will listen to these libs.
Classic Marxist philosophy: drag everyone down to a miserable level, except for the party elite.
Even as early as the Year 1886, such was the case. A man by the name of Montgomery was denied an important post in the federal government for doing just that. You will read some of his words below.
With that said, those who love liberty must be willing to come forward to declare that it is better to be remembered for standing on and articulating enduring principles of right versus wrong, liberty versus tyranny, than to be praised by the mainstream media and so-called "progressives."
We might be wise to read the words of Zacharias Montgomery in his 1886 Book entitled "Poison Drops in the United States Senate . . . ." Although his treatise dealt primarily with the public school question, the following remarks might be helpful to those who, today, are concerned by what passes for "public education."
Excerpts from Zacharias Montgomery:
"My countrymen, disguise the fact as we may, there is in this country to-day, and in both the political Parties, an element which is ripe for a centralized despotism. There are men and corporations of vast wealth, whose iron grasp spans this whole continent, and who find it more difficult and more expensive to corrupt thirty odd State Legislatures than one Federal Congress. It was said of Nero of old that he wished the Roman people had but one head, so that he might cut it off at a single blow. And so it is with those moneyed kings who would rule this country through bribery, fraud, and intimidation.
"It is easy to see how, with all the powers of government centered at Washington in one Federal head, they could at a single stroke put an end to American liberty.
"But they well understand that before striking this blow the minds of the people must be prepared to receive it. And what surer or safer preparation could possibly be made than is now being made, by indoctrinating the minds of the rising generation with the idea that ours is already a consolidated government ; that the States of the Union have no sovereignty which is not subordinate to the will and pleasure of the Federal head, and that our Constitution is the mere creature of custom, and may therefore be legally altered or abolished by custom.
"Such are a few of the pernicious and poisonous doctrines which ten millions of American children are today drinking in with the very definitions of the words they are compelled to study. And yet the man who dares to utter a word of warning of the approaching danger is stigmatized as an enemy to education and unfit to be men tioned as a candidate for the humblest office.
"Be it so. Viewing this great question as I do, not for all the offices in the gift of the American people would I shrink from an open and candid avowal of my sentiments. If I have learned anything from the reading of history, it is that the man who, in violation of great principles, toils for temporary fame, purchases for himself either total oblivion or eternal infamy, while he who temporarily goes down battling for right principles always deserves, and generally secures, the gratitude of succeeding ages, and will carry with him the sustaining solace of a clean conscience, more precious than all the offices and honors in the gift of man.
"History tells us that Aristides was voted into banishment because he was just. Yet who would not a thousand times rather today be Aristides than be numbered amongst the proudest of his persecutors.
"Socrates, too, in violation of every principle of justice, was con demned to a dungeon and to death. Yet what name is more honored in history than his? And which of his unjust judges would not gladly, hide himself in the utter darkness of oblivion from the with ering scorn and contempt of all mankind ?
"From the noble example of Aristides and of Socrates let American statesmen learn wisdom, and from the undying infamy of their cow ardly time-serving persecutors let political demagogues of today take warning."
So Zacharias Montgomery in 1886. Read his complete work at HERE.
Anyone who reads his complete volume will realize this man's ability to see the consequences of what his fellow Americans were advocating in the area of education of youth. He documented his claims by statistics from the government's own records regarding his conclusions about those unintended consequences.
Vouchers are still Communism.
Abolish government schools.
Discourage private schools.
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