Saturday, March 21, 2009
It is our goal to examine every imaginable issue in society about which reasonable people may differ. We’re nothing if not eclectic.
For some time now, it has been our intention to delve into the subject of education. We tangentially touched on it in a prior post, “Recognizing the Potential of the Innovative Thought Process,” but never approached the subject directly.
Today, we seek your thoughts about a very specific issue: whether government should be involved, in any way, in the education of American citizens.
Earlier today, C-Span2 Book TV aired a book discussion program featuring author John Taylor Gatto. Mr. Gatto was a teacher in the New York Public School system for almost 30 years. He discussed his latest book, Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling.
Mr. Gatto contends that compulsory schooling cripples the imagination and discourages critical thinking. The entire time that we listened to his presentation, we thought about the current debate about the government’s involvement in our lives, and the suggestions that many of the policies of the current administration are socialist in nature.
Many have argued that the only things that government does well are the maintenance of the armed forces and law enforcement. We occasionally hear from those who contend that private schools are of higher quality of than public schools. (At this point, we do not wish to discuss school vouchers.)
However, we have never heard anyone suggest that government remove itself entirely from the field of education. We all know the arguments which prompted government involvement years ago.
However, many argue today that the “free market” is a far better mechanism for driving progress and innovation in society than the government. Should we just let everyone in society decide for themselves how their children should be educated, and leave them to fend for themselves?
Should we let competitive forces decide who gets an education and its quality? Sort of an educational Darwinism?
We believe that any responsible organization should revisit its underlying assumptions on a daily basis, and constantly question whether there is a better way to achieve its goals. Otherwise, it will become stagnant, fall behind in relation to its international competition, and ultimately lose sight of its reason for being.
Tell us – should government get out of the business of education? At the elementary school level? High school level? Collegiate and graduate school level?
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