A case for private schools

Cato has a good article pointing out some reasons that schools should be private.

In 1925, the Tennessee legislature passed a law forbidding teaching in public school “any theory that denies the story of divine creation of man as taught in the Bible.” A young teacher, John T. Scopes, taught the theory of evolution in a high school biology class and was arrested for violating the new state law. Two famous lawyers, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, came to the little town of Dayton to prosecute and defend Scopes. Their confrontation defined the clash between evolutionary theory and creationism, science and religion, for years to come.

How does this battle relate to school choice? It illustrates the problem with a one-size-fits-all monopoly school system. Lots of Tennesseans wanted their children taught the Biblical story of creation. But there were others, probably a minority, who wanted their children to learn the scientific consensus in biology class. Because the school system was a state monopoly, they could’t both get what they wanted.

Do you want a committee to decide what you kids learn? What if the Liberals/NeoCons/Wacky Religious Nuts take over your school board? Why not allow folks to have choice in what their children learn?

In a market system, customers can choose from a wide variety of options. Don’t like steak? Eat at a vegetarian restaurant. Don’t like traffic? Live in a bucolic neighborhood.

In a political system, like the school system, however, one group “wins,” and the losers are stuck with products or services they don’t like. Different preferences become the subject of endless political, legislative, and judicial squabbles.

When it comes to important things like my child’s education, I really do not want to be “stuck with products or services they don’t like”. My child deserves to be educated in a way that my wife and I deem to be best – not a state run committee that panders to voters, special interests and the lowest common dominator.

I also want my child to actually be challenged. Forget all of this pandering to test scores, slowing down the classes so that the slowest kids can keep up. I was in the public school system, and I did horribly – because I was bored off my asterisk.

So, personally I want a few things for my child’s schooling

  • A challenging and stimulating environment
  • An environment that stresses critical thinking over rote memorization. I have always hated the school of thought that requires kids to know in 1482 Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue, but not impart a understanding of the backdrop behind the event. I could care less exactly what year the 100 Years War started, but you bet your bippy I want to understand what caused it, the outcome, and what effects it had on the socio-political environment of the time
  • An environment that teaches tolerance, understanding, and social graces.
  • That’s a really tall order for the current crop of PC Public Schools. So, the kidlet will probably go to private schools, and we will pay out the nose for that privilege. All the while paying with taxes for everyone else’s kids to go to sub-par public schools. It does not make sense, nor is it at all fair.

    Even if our tax monies are returned in the form of Vouchers, that would be a step in the right direction. The best solution all around would be for folks to not have to pay taxes for the running of these public schools, and rather spend that money on schooling for their children that they find acceptable.

    1 thought on “A case for private schools”

    1. Equally, perhaps even more signifigant, is that different children benefit most from different learning styles. A one-size fits all public school cannot deal well with this reality.

      I would love to see vouchers and a wide variety of schools to meet different needs.

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