All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.


09 June 2011

Destroy Education to Save It?

That's what Zombie thinks. He went to a teachers' rally and didn't like what he saw.

Will it mean chaos for a generation of students? An unstable and ever-shifting educational landscape? Maybe. And I wish that wasn’t so. But I see no other viable alternative.

Do I wish there was another, more palatable solution? Sure. But these leftist teachers like the ones you see on this page leave me no option: They’re not going to change their political stripes, and they’re not going to voluntarily relinquish control of our public schools or our children’s minds. So as I said at the beginning of this essay:

We have to destroy education in order to save it.

And after everything has collapsed and been rebuilt, maybe then we could re-create public education from scratch, free from politics and indoctrination. But until then I will have to reluctantly assume the role of the villain in the school funding debate. It’s for the children!

I confess I have trouble taking his blog post seriously, even if he meant it in all seriousness. (And sometimes it's hard to tell whether a blogger is serious, joking, or simply hiding a serious point within decidedly unserious rhetoric.) If we've come to the point where political divisions prevent us from having a foundational system of public education, well, houses divided and all that. Such a nation isn't long for this earth.

If I take his post seriously, I must simply despair.

That's not to say he doesn't have some good points. I'm all for lowering the compulsory education age as far as ten or twelve. And I think that Pierce v. Society of Sisters needs to be taken more seriously (along with the 9th and 10th Amendments), and that homeschooling and other alternative forms of education need to suffer from less "oversight" and regulation. But none of that means destroying public education.

His wish to destroy public education seems entirely partisan; I doubt he'd have any problem with it if it weren't a bastion of his political enemies. (And I seriously question whether it is; perhaps in Los Angeles it is, but it is a common lament among college professors that high school teachers, by and large, are exquisitely conservative and that they've brainwashed the poor kids who now need to unlearn all their conservative instincts.) Indeed, it's odd to hear someone who apparently disdains "progressives" adopt one of their fundamental tropes: destroy the old system and bring out a new future! Does he understand how much he sounds like the stereotypical college revolutionary?

Maybe we need reduced funding. Maybe more flexible funding. Maybe we need alternative funding mechanisms like endowments -- but I'm simply not on board with his thesis that we should destroy the public schools. In fact, I think it's a little ridiculous. And it is the duty of the citizen, inter alia, to condemn silly ideas when they enter the public forum.

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