Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Educating All

This is part of a series of Why Public Education.

The second reason cited for a public education was,
State control of education is necessary, because it ensures the transmission of commonly held American cultural values essential to the population of our institutions.
Jenny D.'s recent post dovetails this reason. She asks the question, "Do We As a Society Have an Interest in Educating All Children?" She offers this as a thought exercise and muses,
Imagine if we decided we were unconcerned about whether all American children learned core democratic values. What if a parent decided that a quality education meant learning about jihad against Americans, and not math or language arts? Should the state pay for that choice in education? How about if parents chose a school that promoted sexism, and told girls they were second class citizens, and refused to teach math to girls? Should the state pay for that?
I understand that Jenny was just provoking thought but we have been educating all for over 100 years and we are LESS not MORE able to identify core American values. How many can distinguish between a democracy and a republic or recite the Bill of Rights?

I did an informal survey of a group of about 30 college educated woman (some teachers) that had one question...

Where is this quote found, "From each according to his ability to each according to his need."

Well over half told me the Constitution, some told me they didn't know, and only a very few identified it correctly as Karl Marx. Sad but true. So much for recognizing core democratic values.

And while TRUE choice in education may worry some about parents who want jihad against the US; others are equally concerned about our own teachers promoting what some might consider ANTI-American values. What is a core democratic value is no longer an easy term to define and universally accepted.

That's a striking contradiction for those who defend our need for a public education as the source to teach those values.

What if a parent decided that evolution is theory and wanted it taught as such. What if a parent decided that Christ is the reason for the season and wanted their learning to reflect that belief. What if the parent wanted their child to learn WISDOM and not just knowledge? Should the PARENT still be required to pay for an education that doesn't?

To ask if the state should pay for something it doesn't feel appropriate, is like my son TAKING a $10 bill I intended to use to buy milk and then deciding I don't need milk but Coke because Coke is better for me. (I just haven't been enlightened enough to know). Then he buys me only eight dollars worth, questions ME on why I want milk, and pockets the change for the trouble. He would be wrong to decide what I wanted to buy and so is the state.

That is the reason public education will never work for all. The state is taking money that is not theirs and deciding what is best for ALL When a free people begin to accept this, we are on a road to losing our freedom.

Society has an interest in an education for all but let's not confuse society with the state. They are not the same thing. And a lack of state control does not necessarily translate into a lack of concern by society.

No comments: