Mailvox: a poor defense of public schools

SB does his best impression of Leonidas:

It may be true the public schooling was part of Nazi and Communist indoctrination. But it was introduced by the Puritans (and their allies against Monarchy, the Levellers, etc.). The reason it is so important in a democracy is that if a large group of people will be voting, they should be literate and sophisticated.

The Puritan system of schooling had died out long before the American Revolution. The present system hails from Andrew Bell’s importation of the Hindu schooling method, which was explicitely designed to preserve the caste system and instill a servile attitude in the sub-Brahmin castes. SB’s first logical flaw is revealed by his error in confusing a representative republic with a democracy, the second is his assumption a public school can reliably produce literate and sophisticated graduates.

I agree with you that leftists have taken over the educational arena. (When I went to school, we really were taught to be patriotic, with no apologies). I also agree that the government is not very good at running anything, and schools are no different. How far would you go in trying to remedy this? Eliminate all public support for education? It is not hard to see what this would lead to. This is a classic case of “free rider effect.” What’s good for the country is a populace which is very well trained and educated. We all benefit from that. If the full burden is returned to the parents, who compose only a small part of the population, and not a very wealthy part either, only the wealthiest will be able to provide an adequate education for their children even to reach their own level of success.

There is so much wrong here, factually and logically, that one barely knows where to start. In 2002, there were 3.1 million public school teachers in America and 54.7 million school-age children in public, private and home schools. Since the American birth rate is 2.07/woman, that means that there are around 50 million parents of school-age children, or one-sixth of the population. If one percent of the population suffices to maleducate 47.7 million children in the present public system, surely the sixteen percent who doubtless care far more for their children can manage to achieve results at least as good. And yes, I absolutely would eliminate all public support for education, as government funding inevitably destroys that which it is theoretically supposed to support.

It’s all well and good to say “Just let my wife figure out how to educate the children.” For most people, that is just not going to happen, because most people are not cut out to be educators. It’s true, as you say,that the government does not own our children. That is not the point. What’s good for the individual is not the same as what is good for the society when it comes to education. Our country must collectively support education or we really will be overwhelmed by the other countries which do support education.

If you allow the collectivist enough rope, eventually he will reveal his true colors and hang himself. SB clearly views der Staat as supreme, with precedence over the rights of the individual. But America rose to global dominance without the public school system. Despite its military power, America now appears to be in irretrievable long-term decline and the failures of the public school system – or rather, its success in creating a subservient middle class – are more than a little responsible for allowing this decline to take place. It is worth noting that it is only the private university system that competes favorably with the rest of the world; our centralized public schools are worse than most other public school systems which are smaller, less politicized and less prone to destructive intellectual fads.