Monday, June 13, 2005

The end of public education

There is a column by Jeff Jacoby today that makes a case for ending public run schools--opting to let the private sector take over to compete for parents of different flavors (nuts included) who could send their kids to the type of schooling they want (Darwinistic vs. Intelligent Design vs. Creationism).
Imagine how diverse and vital American education could be if it were liberated from government control. There would be schools of every description -- just as there are restaurants, websites, and clothing styles of every description. Parents who wanted their children to be taught Darwinian evolution unsullied by leaps of faith in an Intelligent Designer would be able to choose schools in which religious notions played no role. Those who wanted their children to see God's hand in the miraculous tapestry of life all around them would send them to schools in which faith played a prominent role.
That seems like a radical idea...funny that it does since in the not too distant past there were not any government run schools. The main reason I don't mind the idea of public schools is to provide some sort of uniformity in the ways all American children are taught...but the problem is, of course, there IS no uniformity in the way kids are taught. Some schools offer excellent instruction while others bog them down in political correctness or must spend their days as babysitters for non-participatory parents.

I don't think the government will ever free the school system from its clutches...and the teachers unions would shriek of course if it was even discussed.

To me, competition brings the focus on providing excellence...otherwise you go out of business because few people will choose mediocrity if given the choice. If the idea of turning all schools over to the private sector is a pipe dream, then we need to demand excellence from the schools we have. No Child Left Behind was an important first step--bringing accountability into the school system. That accountability comes at a cost, but the cost of not raising the standards is continued mediocrity. The best form of accountability would come through competition, but as I can't see true competition among schools ever happening, we mustn't let go of higher levels of accountability in the schools we have.

9 Comments:

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Michael Gallaugher said...

I couldn't agree more. I have a choice however - private school.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger Talon said...

It's nice to have choices. I could send my kids to a private school, but the one I'd want is a loooong way from home unfortunately and comes with a pretty steep price tag. ~sigh~ Since I'm paying taxes to support my local school district, I'm going to eke everything I can get for my money until such point as I think they are damaging my children more than helping.

I'm pretty happy with our local public school...so far anyway. As with any school, it could be better and who knows how much better it would be if it were run by a private enterprise.

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger Travis said...

Oh, my. After going to Boys State, there is no way I would want to send my children to public school. Some of the boys slipped into a store to buy porn and then later they were discussing the meaning of cuss words. And these young men were suppost to be the cream of the crop! Unless there is major change in public school (a.k.a. Christianity taught, and spanking allowed) I would highly recommend another form of education. I would want my children to be well grounded in thier walk with Christ before sending them out with the wolves, as it were. Another issue in public schools is evolution and humanisum that is taught. Also students are not allowed to pray in public as a whole or to read their Bibles at a public school. Also I have found that our public schools do a rotten jod of teaching our national history. They have to avoid our founding fathers writings as a whole, because they are so utterly Christian! Our family home school's and I would highly recommend that, if at all possible.

My 2 cents. :-D

The Blogging Boy Scout,
Travis

 
At 6:35 AM, Blogger Talon said...

I think home schooling and private Christian schools are fine options if you can swing it...the problem is that if all Christians were pulled from public schools (and the public arena as a whole) how can we influence it? Rather than retreating from public schools, we should be fighting to change them! We need to be the ones running for school board, recruiting young Christians to become public school teachers, showing up at PTA meetings and making our voices heard.

The idea of pulling back into our little safe Christian conclaves scares me because we are to be the light of the world...and we can't do that if we're only being light to each other.

No offense to the Amish, but how big of an impact do they have on society? They stick to themselves and don't worry about influencing the world around them. What if Jesus' disciples did that? It would have spelled the end of Christianity right there in Jerusalem. You and I today would never know that a man named Jesus walked the earth if his disciples didn't follow his command to "go out into the world."

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Agent Tim said...

"No offense to the Amish, but how big of an impact do they have on society? They stick to themselves and don't worry about influencing the world around them."

They have an affect by being different. They aren't like the world so people respect them and want to know more about them. Christians should be the same way.

If you're standing on a chair, it's not easy to bring someone up to your level. It's much easier for the other person to bring you down.

Same for Christians. Yes, salt and light we should be. But there is no way we can reform public school. Homeschoolers and Public Schooled kids aren't running. They're being salt and light to the world.

Of course, in many cases, Christians can be salt and light to Public schools. If God has called you to that...which I see as rare...then go at it with all your heart!

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Talon said...

Catspaw, you said about the Amish:

They have an affect by being different. They aren't like the world so people respect them and want to know more about them. Christians should be the same way.

But how many people are joining them? It's one thing to get their respect, but they're not influencing the world if people can just admire them from afar and continue on with their own ungodly lives. As Christians, we are to save the lost (ie, get them to join us!).

You said about public schools:

there is no way we can reform public school. Homeschoolers and Public Schooled kids aren't running. They're being salt and light to the world.

I fervently disagree that we can't reform public schools. In Kansas, we elected conservatives to the state board of education and now they are likely going to include curriculum that teaches science students that there are criticisms of Darwinism.

Private schools and homeschools are fine--and definitely provide superior education to most public schools--but we can't abandon the world where Jesus told us to "go and make disciples."

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger Agent Tim said...

"Private schools and homeschools are fine--and definitely provide superior education to most public schools--but we can't abandon the world where Jesus told us to "go and make disciples."

I think you're right. But we must be very, very careful when we deal with the world, and yet not too careful that we don't do anything.

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger Travis said...

Ah I am sorry Sir. I hope I did not come off as a person who wishes to retreat into a "Amish" type society and retreat for the issues that face us today. I am totally against that. The reason my family chooses to home school is summed up in the following analogy. My mom and dad view a child as a small sapling, a young tree, as it were. If a young tree is placed out in the winds and storms of the world too soon it will lean the wrong direction, it requires some strong stakes and rope to keep it growing straight and tall. But, with those stakes in place it can be allowed to grow tall and strong, this young tree will be deeply rooted and grounded in its foundation and ready to face the winds it might encounter when the time comes to remove the stakes. The same goes for home schooling. After being raised up at home by Christian parents a young man or woman is prepared to face the trials ahead. They are firmly rooted in their walk with the Lord, they will not be turned from the right paths. The disciples had been taught by Jesus for some time before they were told to "go and peach the gospel". And we believe the same. A young person needs to be taught the right ways himself before trying to change others. If he is not firm in his faith, how can he teach others? In order to be salt and light we must reach a point in our walk where we can resist evil and choose good. And this takes time. When a young child is raised by secular humanism and atheism 5 days a week and churched 1 day, how does that speak for what they take in? I think home schooling allows for sharp young people to go out and change the world, fully prepared for the fight ahead, rooted and grounded in with they believe. And I think we should all strive for change in public schools. While at Boys State I wrote and passed a mock bill that would allow students and teachers the right to voluntarily pray in school. The bill also allowed for prayer at ball games and teachers leading a student in prayer if the student wishes. This is a bill I would like to see passed in real life. We do need reform in public schools and that will only get done if Christians stand up and try to make a difference in this old world. We are to be salt and light. We are to be world shakers. With the good Lord's help, we CAN change the U.S.A. for good. Last of all, I want to say that there are good Christian people who choose to use the public school to educate their children. And their are good Christians who come out of the public schools system. However that is not the way I would wish to raise my children if I had the choice.

The Blogging Boy Scout,
Travis

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Talon said...

Travis, thanks for your thoughts. I think your parents have done a very good job, and should be proud.

Not long ago there was talk of the Southern Baptists pulling all kids out of public schools. While I agree with you that public schools CAN be a treacherous place for kids, I think the schools would become far worse if not for the influence of Christians.

I don't care for my school teaching moral lessons to my kids. Reading, writing and arithmetic will suffice thank you very much. I'll teach my kids about the magesty of God and how we should live according to his guidance. I want to prepare my kids so they can influence their world in a positive way.

Did you know that if a kid hasn't made a decision for Christ by the time he or she leaves high school, the odds of them ever doing so shrink dramatically. Our Christian kids may be the only representative for Jesus Christ that those kids ever experience. If we don't have Christian kids in school to invite them to church or talk to them about spiritual issues, how many kids will we lose permanently?

We could beat this horse to death, but the main thing is that we have choices. Kids should be able to escape bad schools and be home-schooled or private-schooled; but if the school is "ok" and not causing damage by conflicting with the moral teachings at home, then a public school setting affords the opportunity to witness and impact lives for an eternity.

 

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