Boots & Sabers

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0729, 04 Apr 23

School choice is only the first step

Go out and vote today, but then come back and click through to read my column for the Washington County Daily News today. Here’s a piece.

With the April election behind us, we can turn our attention to some of the structural issues that underlie our nation’s decline. The number one reason that our nation is weaker than it was a generation ago — and yes, it is weaker — is because of the collapse of our education system.


Once the envy of the world, our education system has been debased by the destructive culture of low expectations.


Nationally, student performance has been declining for many years. There are spurts of exceptionalism, but even they are pulled down by the sticky morass of mediocrity that has become the celebrated standard of our government educational system.


The inevitable result of a dumbing down of our education system is that we end up with graduates who lack the basic knowledge and critical thinking skills to successfully navigate adulthood or effectively participate in their God-given right to self-governance. It is our collective moral failure that we have failed our kids this badly and for this long.


The pandemic did not create the problems in our government schools, but it did lay them bare for all to see. As the schools deprioritized education in the face of a virus that posed negligible risk to children, parents were confronted with what their kids were being taught as they scrambled to fill the void. What parents saw was appalling. As the government schools have scaled back on rigorous core subjects in the name of equality, they have allowed activists to step into the void to indoctrinate kids into the latest leftist fads. Our kids may not be able to do math in their heads or name the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights anymore, but they can easily spout off on the perils of climate change. The government schools of today are not the same as the ones we attended a generation ago.




As these reforms are underway, it is imperative that we do not stop there. School Choice is only about the funding mechanism.


We cannot rely on our government — its policy makers or its unelected bureaucrats — to provide a quality education for our kids. They have already demonstrated their incapacity to do so.


In some cases, it is not for lack of good intentions, but government bureaucracies are not structured to deliver exceptionalism to individuals. Government bureaucracies are designed to deliver mediocrity to the masses, and that is exactly what they have done delivering education.


Since we have relied on our government to provide mass education, most areas lack enough private schools to provide the diversity of educational options to absorb true universal school choice. It is going to take a generation to fix this capacity problem. We have to start now by supporting the expansion of existing private schools and the creation of new ones. We must also support our friends and neighbors who choose to homeschool. Finally, we must be unforgiving in purging bad schools and the people who run them when they fail. Our children deserve better than a 5-year improvement plan.



0729, 04 April 2023

1 Comment

  1. Tuerqas

    I think it has gone beyond that. The long term effects of universal school choice is a public school ghetto where geographical locations that can’t support private schools are stuck with a failed system, and not so coincidentally we will continue to be stuck with liberal voting hotbeds via ‘educational’ programming.

    You have been more on the right track with privatizing the entire system. Sure you will still have more problems with specific geographical locations (and greed, but we have that now with school districts and teachers demanding more and more while delivering less and less), but the goal for better universal education should be to better it for all, not just the places that can afford better choices.

    If you want to fight for better, more informed future voters your fight needs to have a symbol the Republican Party can hang its hat on. Because currently it still looks like they only try to pick at the edges of education so their wealthy donors have a place closer to home to send THEIR children to better schools. It looks like they only fight for the wealthy and that is all Dems need to hang on to the yawning pit we call our public school system. Dems ‘extremist’ attack campaign ads have been hugely successful. I think a too stupid because of school national ad highlighting what our schools are delivering might be a successful counter at the ballot box. I bet Reps could defeat Evers with it.

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