Public Education:  Coercion or Choice

By Daniel V. McClain

If even the possibility of a better education for yourself or your child existed wouldn’t you be inclined to at least explore those opportunities?

Many options now exist including private, charter, magnet, and your run of the mill public school.  A brief look at the history of public education in the United States reveals that the first free public school wasn’t established until 1820 in Massachusetts, yet most states had compulsory laws by 1900.  And even though the Constitution doesn’t list education as a fundamental right the Supreme Court has ruled that in individual states, since public education is offered, the 14th amendment extends equal protection to “anyone, citizen or stranger.”  So in some ways education is recognized as both a requirement and a right.  However, there are financial, geographical and aptitudinal barriers to students getting the same quality of education.

Our education system is still based on Horace Mann’s version of universal education or “common schools” which focused on creating a moral, literate and civilized society where kids learned the same things.  The beauty of the U.S. Constitution and subsequently the U.S. education system is that different states did things in slightly different ways.  This allowed districts to improve by learning from the success and failure of others, and accelerated the development of our system.  But, while federal standards can help bring lacking schools up to par it can also hamper the innovation that keeps raising the bar.

The free market has responded to barriers to quality education and the slow down in educational performance with alternatives. The question at hand is whether or not federal funds should follow a student no matter which school choice they make.  Private schools may or may not like this as more federal money will surely increase federal regulation over time.  Public schools fear the idea since most kids go to public school, and the change would certainly result in them losing students and thus funding.  The idea is that if funds follow the student it will create more competition which will entice schools to perform well to attract more students.

The solution lies in the problem.  Is the goal of public education to make sure that students learn the same basic skills needed to make a living as an adult?  Or, is it to coerce students to complete a curriculum based on their aptitude, location, and financial situation, which prepares you for a higher public education, which you may or may not have to pay for by yourself, which may or may not get you a job in the field you studied.  See, public education as a whole has continued to be a social engineering project striving to perpetuate the institution rather than a government service to its citizens.

Indulge me here.  If we assign the same dollar amount and same goals to each kid.  The faster learners will reach the goal quicker, thus completing their education cheaper.  The slower learners will take longer to reach their goal if ever, thus costing more to educate.  If we streamline education for students who learn faster it would free up time and money for schools to dedicate to slower learners.  Instead of teaching a group of children who are the same age the same thing and progressing them by age, teach by level and progress by level.  Allow for independent learners to be in bigger classes.  There are plenty of things we can do to make public education better, but I contend that rather than making better outcomes officials are focused on creating better institutions.   I don’t think that a traditional public education is better or worse than a private or neo-public education.   I just think that rather than coerce children and their parents to choose between institutions the government should improve the education it provides or get out of the way.

1 thought on “Public Education:  Coercion or Choice”

  1. Good morning Dan,

    Let me illustrate something. Turn on the news… see all those kids protesting? Do they really know what they are protesting against? Do they understand what Freedoms are that they are attempting to eradicate? Do they truly know that IF they succeed in taking away these freedoms that they serve to doom themselves? Do they have any idea of the true face of their handlers? How did the likes of Bernie Sanders achieve such an elevated stature among the youth of America? Clearly, just a cursory study of history shows that Sanders subscribes to and extols the political system responsible for the most heinous governmental genocides in human history.

    The Progressive usurpers of the American Republic had a plan, a sublime, tenacious, incredible plan to re-educate the educators of our children. Some of the foundational tenants of this plan are to entice our children with moral relativism; there is no God and remove Him from our schools; re-write and/or erase the true history of American and Western Civilization; the State is your nanny, provider and protector, above your parents… It’s working and you see the results today. All those kids “Feeling the Bern” are about to “Burn Down” our Republic.

    The Founders of this American Republic shared something very significant. Almost to a person, the American Founders received a Classical Liberal Arts Education; Latin, logic, rhetoric (the “trivium”), as well as arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music (the “quadrivium”). Hillsdale College through their Barney Charter, is again making this education available to our public school students. This education has been adapted to work within the current public education paradigm. By forming alliances with like minded groups and supporters we can disseminate a proven educational system, (2,500 years in the making) that can again, “train up our children to the responsibilities of citizenship in a Free Republic.”

    “The true path to the restoration and future of this blessed Republic, runs right through the halls of our schools.”

    Pasquale Battaglia

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