“Liberalthink” and the ideology of public education…

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If liberalism was a religion, it’s parishes would be the nation’s public schools and its catechism would be the curriculum. Any evidence of their failure would be systematically denied, if only because “What happens in church must stay in church!” or “Who are you to question what we teach?”

Sounds a little bit like the Catholic clergy abuse scandal, no?

Back to the point. A short while back, Allison Benedikt published an article in Slate entitled “If You Send Your Child To A Private School, You Are A Bad Person.” Ms. Benedikt basically argues that parental choice in terms of what school their children should attend is a very bad thing, evidencing not “murder bad” but “pretty bad” parents.  She writes:

If every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve…It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

What a gem of logic!

  • it could take generations“…(in English) parents should subject the children of this generation to a subpar education that results in high dropout rates and poor tests scores.
  • Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime“…(in English) education doesn’t really matter in the short run so providing a subpar education in this generation really won’t matter.
  • for the eventual common good“…(in English) we are all in this together, comrades, enduring a little short-term pain for some long-term hopium is a good thing.

Benedikt believes the body politic would do impoverished children a great favor by keeping them trapped in a failed educational system (especially in the nation’s urban areas) if only the body politic would pour all of its children into that system.

That’s nothing more than liberalthink! If the rich get all of the goods, the poor will suffer. So, let’s distribute the suffering equitably by tossing every child into the same failed system. Then, the long-term good will eventually be achieved.

What Ms. Benedikt’s ideology disallows is the fact that per-pupil spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools has increased 18% between 2000 and 2010. Today, there are more teachers, more reading specialists, more social workers, more assistant principals and principal, and yes, more computers.

But, guess what?

For that investment of an additional $1.9+B on the part of 48% of the body politic, standardized test scores have not improved. Except for many of those impoverished students whose parents have taken advantage of various voucher schemes.

When parents are allowed to choose where their children will get the best education–giving the “public” choice–marketplace competition produces better results than a government monopoly.

The Motley Monk wouldn’t ever call Ms. Benedikt “a very bad person” because she believes in the ideology of public education. That would be an illogical, ad hominem argument. Deluded, perhaps, Misguided, perhaps. But, not a “murder bad” or “pretty bad person.”



To read Allison Benedikt’s article in Slate, click on the following link:

To read the NCES report on spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

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  1. The woman who wrote this is an idiot. I can’t be more charitable than that. idiots like her want to get their hands on my kids. From my cold dead hands they will.

  2. If people would like to know the real underlying reasons for the horrible shape of our educational system and it’s root causes, please read Ralph D’ Toledanos’ “Cry Havoc”. This book has been supressed since it’s publication in 2006 but it is available again in limited quantities from the publisher through Amazon. Get a copy read it make notes and then pass it on to a friend.

  3. A minor un-emancipated person’s civil rights are held in trust for them by God, by their parents and finally by the state. “In loco parentis” is a Latin term that means that teachers teach in the place of parents and must teach only what the parents choose to be taught. If this situation cannot be accomplished in the town meeting or in Parent -Teacher Organizations to the satisfacton of parents, then it must be put on the ballot, for the people and parents who pay taxes. The state cannot dictate or as the Ninth Circut Court in California decided that once a child crosses the threshhold of the school, parents no longer have anything to say about what the child is taught. The personification of God’s perfect Justice, all judges, receive compensation for their work which is not taxable and therefore, some judges believe that they are above the law of man and God, that they and the state are supreme and that their decisions are infallible. The state, the public school, cannot own another person. If the student graduates from high school and cannot read and write or do math it is time to sue the Board of Education.

  4. Public school teachers are, first and foremost, unionized government bureaucrats.

    As such, they are entitled to their paychecks and fringe benefits regardless of performance.

    As a matter of fact, poor performance is just evidence that we aren’t forking enough taxpayer dollars over to them.

  5. Jules Ferry, the founder of the modern French education system, imitated all over Europe, was only being more candid than most, when he said that the purpose of public education was “to sat the country’s youth into the same mould and to stamp them, like the coinage, with the image of the republic.”

    Nor is this confined to one political party. Ferry was a man of the Far Right; the minister of Thiers during the suppression of the Paris Commune, the architect of French colonialism in Algeria and an implacable foe of trades unions. He was also a fanatical bouffeur de curé [Anti-clerical]

  6. I should have written, “cast the country’s youth…” « jeter la jeunesse dans le même moule, la frapper, comme une monnaie, à l’effigie de la republique »

  7. Indeed, the public schools are the national church of the United States. And the prophet of that Church was John Dewey. Few teachers, administrators or even school trainers seems to read his books, but his ideas came to dominate American education, even affecting private education, to a remarkable extent.

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