Saturday, May 13, 2006


Response To Reader About School Choice

We get mail; once in a while. There’re a couple of points in this email I want to address.

Seems to me the major argument about the failure of American schools is that students in other countries score better on geography, history, math, and science. In the countries where that happens, the schools are not only funded by the central government, but the curricula is also centrally mandated. One advantage is, of course, that the funding goes equally to all the schools—schools in poor areas get the same per-capita money as schools in rich areas. And the schools in those countries are very secular; there isn’t the religious influence on what can and cannot be taught...

Really, 98% of the people can’t find Iraq on a map? Or point their way to Canada? I like hyperbole as much as the next person, but sometimes these kinds of statistics are NOT to be taken seriously. CNN, ABC, Fox, FSTV, NBC, etc., carry maps to show where the stories are located, as do newspapers and magazines. Even USA-Today does this. If people can’t point their way to Canada or find Iraq, it isn’t the fault of the schools; it would appear to be something genetic in the American people (speaking of hyperbole).

If these schools turned out the Republican voters, and given the amount of religious influence being shoved on the schools today, why would the parents be able to do anything but make even worse school choices?

Finally, saying that “our democracy flourished” until 1920 shows a certain, ahh, selectivity about how democracy worked up until then. Workers had no voices in the way things were done, nor did women. We had child labor, unsafe food, extreme segregation in most of the country, and a government of and for the rich. To call that democracy instead of an oligarchy is fatuous. I’m not sure our government today is much different.

I got this the other day:

//he real question was "Don't you think parents should decide what is taught—and not taught—to their children?"//

So your argument is that the government is a better arbitrator than parents of what should be taught? By advancing that position you essentially give GW Bush dominion over kids right now.

Is that really the point you are trying to make?

98% of the people that can't find Iraq on a map, or point their way to Canada, spent 12 years in a government run school. How exactly is more of the same going to make anything better? Our democracy flourished all the way up until 1920 without forced government schooling.

Educated voters are what's required for democracy to work - and the public school system as currently implemented is not turning out educated voters. Actually it's turned out most of the Republican voters that you seem to hold in such low regard.

Posted by COD to disturbing the comfortable at 5/12/2006 11:23:26 AM

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