Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Public schools empowered by the parents - not the government?

In this thought provoking article, an interesting solution to the public school battles over what should be taught in regard to ID, homosexuality, sex ed, etc. was suggested.

Some issues to consider:
"So is American education doomed to eternal acrimony? Thankfully, it doesn't have to be. If public education were driven by free parental choice, it could escape the Balkanizing battles that plague our current system, because individual parents could choose schools that comport with their values, and there would be no need to fight over public schools for which all must pay, but only the most politically powerful can control."
Hmmm...parents choosing a school for their children that best suits their worldview. Interesting concept, but we already have private schools for that purpose. Of course, the difference is that they are not government subsidized, and many parents are not able to afford the tuition at those preferred school.

However, the truth is anything but that, the report said. "Public schooling forces everyone to pay for a single official system that does not – and indeed cannot – reflect the public's diverse and often conflicting views. The inevitable result of this system … is endless social discord over what is taught," the study noted.
True, and in many cases what is taught is not what the majority of parents support. The government evidently knows what is best in regard to these issues, and as far as science classes are concerned, we must appease those scientists from the all-knowing “scientific community”, and as I have pointed out in the past, the upper echelon are comprised of scientists who hold atheistic faith beliefs.

"Indeed, rather than bringing people together, public school often forces people of disparate backgrounds and beliefs into political combat. This paper tracks almost 150 such incidents in the 2005-2006 school year alone. Whether over the teaching of evolution, the content of library books, religious expression in the schools, or several other common points of contention, conflict was constant in American public education last year," McCluskey said.

"To end the fighting caused by state-run schooling, we should transform our system from one in which the government establishes and controls schools, to one in which individual parents are empowered to select schools that share their moral values and education goals for children," he said.
Sounds good - isn’t that what liberals always seem to be fighting for..the individual freedom to choose for oneself as to what is correct or moral?

In other words, attach the money that now is being allocated by state and local taxing districts to the students, instead of the schools. Schools then could compete for the students, teaching a reflection of the values those students' families hold dear, he said during an online forum on the report.
Well, that would certainly be interesting...schools competing for students based on family values. I think the schools would start to become lopsided as far as enrollment numbers are concerned. Skatje Myers recently did a little research on what the polls reflect in regard to where Americans stand on a variety of issues. Here are a few interesting results:

Regardless of what you may personally believe, which of these do you believe should be taught in public schools?” (Harris Poll. June 17-21, 2005. 1,000 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.)

Evolution only: 12%
Creationism only: 23%
Intelligent design only: 4%
All three: 55%
None of these (vol.): 3%
Unsure: 3%
“Would you generally favor or oppose teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools?” (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey conducted by SRBI. July 6-19, 2006. 996 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.5.)

Favor: 58%
Oppose: 35%
Unsure: 7%
“Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings? (1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process. (2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process. (3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” (Gallup Poll. May 8-11, 2006. 1,002 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.)

Guided by god: 36%
No part: 14%
Present form: 46%
Other/no opinion: 5%
“Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married?” (Quinnipiac University Poll. Nov. 13-19, 2006. 1,623 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 2.4.)

Support: 34%
Oppose: 63%
Unsure: 4%
“What is your personal feeling about abortion? (1) It should be permitted in all cases. (2) It should be permitted, but subject to greater restrictions than it is now. (3) It should be permitted only in cases such as rape, incest and to save the woman’s life. OR, (4) It should only be permitted to save the woman’s life.” (CBS News Poll. Jan. 18-21, 2007. 1,168 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.)

All cases: 31%
Greater restrictions: 16%
Rape, incest, life: 30%
Only life: 12%
Never (vol.): 5%
Unsure: 6%
Interesting. It would seem that the conservative schools would probably out number the liberal schools as far as enrollment numbers. Of course, the scientific community would fear that our conservative schools would churn out bumbling idiots, but we’ve seen that their predictions are often inaccurate. We also know that, currently, private school graduates do every bit as well as children educated in the public schools.

"Imposing government-run schooling on every American – the opposite of freedom and choice – has been the cause of constant social and political conflict, while enabling people to select schools that reflect their own values, use the curricula they desire, and so on, is essential to defusing social conflict," the report found. [my emphasis]
As I pointed out in my post on religious indoctrination, public schools also have the opportunity to indoctrinate our children into a particular worldview. By only allowing children to consider natural causes for their existence, reading them stories about absolute acceptance of homosexual lifestyles, removing the consideration of sexual abstinence, etc., we are shaping their worldview.

I don’t know....I can foresee some problems with the concept of letting parents choose the correct school for their children, but on the other hand I can see quite a few benefits as well.

It’s certainly something to think about...