Boots & Sabers

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0719, 01 Mar 22

Power vs. education

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Parents have an expectation and a right that their kids are educated in accordance with their values and priorities. When that is not happening, they get justifiably angry. The root of the problem is that government schools are not capable of accommodating the spectrum of values present in the out modern society. They are not designed that way. They are designed to regress to the mean.


Government schools are political organizations that are governed by people who are chosen through the electoral process. By design, the government schools represent the values of the majority of the voters. When there are broad shared values that are held by the vast majority of the community, this system works fine. But when there are a wide variety of values to be represented, an elected government can only really represent some assemblage that adds up to 51% of the electorate. This leaves a significant portion of the community marginalized, frustrated, and angry. We see this reflected in all of our elected governments right now from Washington to school boards.


While we do not have a fix for this political frustration for state or national government, we do have a fix with schools. School Choice is the answer for how we can focus on education while still honoring the broad array of values that parents want to be reinforced with their children in school.


School Choice is not a conservative issue. It used to be considered a liberal issue. Many of the early advocates for School Choice were liberals who were fighting to give families who were not being represented in the power structure a chance to choose a school that will serve them better. These marginalized subsets of the larger community were unable to exert enough political power to change the government schools. School Choice prevented their children from being pawns in a political power struggle


That is what the School Choice debate is really about: power and entrenched power structures. The government school establishment, from the local school districts to the Department of Public Instruction to the teachers’ unions, is powerful. School Choice is a challenge to that power because it transfers power to parents. As Snodgrass so eloquently explained, parents who pay get a say. School Choice gives all parents the means to have a real say in how schools are run and what is taught


School Choice changes the dynamic by forcing schools — government and private — to be responsive to the families they serve. The discussion can be about education instead of a struggle for power. If one family is unhappy about a school teaching CRT or having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they can have the means to choose a different school that more closely matches their priorities and values. One should not have to defeat their neighbors in a political battle for their school to educate their children in a way that supports their values.


0719, 01 March 2022


  1. dad29

    You raise a very serious question here. If “some” parents want Judaeo-Christian tradition values taught (such as are voiced in the Declaration of Independence) and “other” parents do not, then how do you propose to make a nation out of that?

  2. Mar

    “Parents have an expectation and a right that their kids are educated in accordance with their values and priorities. ”
    I strongly disagree, especially in a public school setting
    In public schools, there is a diversity of opinions and values., so you really have to to the mean. If you want your kid to have only conservative values, you will have to find a private school.
    If you are a liberal and you want your spoiled rug rat to learn liberal ways of life like rioting, violence and loitinf, they might some of that education in public schools but there are conservative teachers. What do you do with them?
    It would be nice if there was a balance between conservative and liberal teachers.

  3. Tuerqas

    “Parents have an expectation and a right that their kids are educated in accordance with their values and priorities. ”

    I agree with Owen. They might not be educated exclusively with those values and I don’t think they need to be, but the local parents values should also be part of that public education. Today’s public schools may have a sprinkling of conservatives, but those values are not being represented at all and that is a reason for concern. There is a group of liberals actively trying to stamp out conservatism and they are called Democrats. From ‘educating’ it away to social media attacking it away, the war is on and most battles are over before conservatives know there is a fight. And liberals use brute force tactics designed to destroy reputation and public interest. Look at Le Roi, when was the last time he actually tried to engage in a topical conversation rather than just rabidly attacking Trump or most other people here for post or commentary? It is that way everywhere, Le Roi ‘arguments’ are just a product of his liberal overlords. It is the same with every other Democrat I ever talk to these days.

  4. dad29

    If you want your kid to have only conservative values, you will have to find a private school.

    Let’s define some terms here.

    I want my kid to learn WHAT IS–that is, what is TRUE. There are no “values” which can over-ride truth. One can yap all day about “diverse” but physics, math, history, and geography stand apart from that crap. It’s either true or false.

  5. Mar

    I was just using Owen’s words.
    It would be nice if only facts were taught.
    But then we have to decide whose facts.
    1+1=2 Is a fact.
    Shakespeare was a great author . That’s an opinion,personally, I think he sucked.ducked.
    So, there has to be room for dissenting opinion.
    Tuerqas, it depends where you live. I believe that most rural school districts are conservative

  6. Tuerqas

    Including their school board, teacher majorities and unions? Sure, conservative voting base, not many educational institutions, imo.

  7. Tuerqas

    “There are no “values” which can over-ride truth.”

    Then for you public schools have failed, because the majority (I didn’t say VAST majority just for you, Mar) are less interested in teaching what is true than in teaching the tenets of liberalism. I believe there is little truth to be found in public schools, especially metro public schools today.

  8. dad29

    You can have any opinion you want about Bill S. But so long as the vast majority of Western scholars say he’s (at least ONE) of the greats, one must be acquainted with his literature. There is truth therein, Yorick!

    Some people hate Bach. Too bad. His literature is foundational for all that followed until roughly 1950 or so. Some people hate Gregorian Chant, but Hindemith called it ‘the foundation of Western music.’

    You may believe that the West’s Judaeo-Christian understanding of WHAT IS is erroneous–but you’ll have to prove that.

    That’s education. Not spreadsheets, nor design engineering.

  9. MjM

    Mar claims: “1+1=2 Is a fact.”

    Not so. To the Education Stasi math accuracy is nothing but raaaaaacist!

    The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict. – Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course, funded by Bill Gates, implemented by the Oregon Department of Education,

    What does it mean to do math? How important is it to be Right? What is Right? Says Who? – K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework, Seattle Public Schools

    Mathematics teachers and leaders must self-reflect on privileges and obstacles in their own mathematics histories, build and exchange ideas, and expand the pool of knowledge resources by partnering with families and communities to make change. Thus, working together is essential to gain intimate, multifaceted knowledge needed to replace the systems of oppression in mathematics..” – Joint statement, The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics and
    TODOS: Mathematics for ALL

    We will work with disciplinary actors (e.g., scientists, computer scientists) to move beyond apolitical investigations and representations of the data they generate to communicate directly with the public to highlight how systemic racism is apparent at the intersection of science and society and propose solutions to address such inequality. – Okhee Lee, Ph.D., Professor, New York University, Todd Campbell, Ph.D., Professor, Department Head, University of Connecticut

    Y’all must know that the idea that math is objective or neutral IS A MYTH…. along with the “of course math is neutral because 2+2=4” trope are the related (and creepy) “math is pure” and “protect math”, reeks of white supremacist patriarchy – Brooklyn College professor of math “educator” Laurie Rubel

  10. Mar

    I am sure 1+1= black teansgender queen Pervert judge to someone.

  11. dad29

    With all due respect to the B.S. degrees hanging around this forum, the real education is in Liberal Arts–where WHAT IS (truth) is pursued. Engineering, accounting, marketing, biology, chem–all those are add-ons to Lib Arts.

    About 40 years ago a Pennsylvania university (can’t remember which, but it was a ‘name’ school) offered a hybrid: 2 years Lib Arts, 2 years Engineering (or Biz Ad, whatever.) Damn good idea. Ought to be repeated.

    I’m willing to bet that Owen would take on a bright-eyed Lib Arts grad who knows WHAT IS and train ’em’ up in the dark arts of comp sci.

  12. Mar

    Dad, I agree that most college degrees are crap but there are several that still are mostly traditional. Most medical degrees. Including doctor, nursing vets(mostly medical school drop outs), O T, PT, some engineering degrees, degrees that require actual facts, even lawyers,, and not woke opinions and you have to pass a test are still legitimate. A teaching degree means nothing.
    And If you want an actual job, community College is the place to go

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