A VERY GOOD ESSAY FROM THE EVER RELIABLE NEAL MCCLUSKEY: “Here’s How To Solve Bitter School Board Battles Without Sending In The FBI.”
From Day One, public schooling has been a political and social battleground. From conflicts over whose religion would be taught in Horace Mann’s “common schools,” to the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, to critical race theory, public schooling has forced Americans to fight one another. It is inevitable in a system that requires all, diverse people to fund politically controlled schools. . . .
The NSBA’s call for federal force, rather than being a last-ditch effort to combat an onslaught of violence, is a threat to basic liberty, even as some people have incontestably broken civility, and a smaller handful may have engaged in serious threats. But incivility is not criminality, and local law enforcement – not the FBI or U.S. Secret Service – exists to deal with local disturbances of the peace and threatening behavior.
Alas, turning disagreement into bitter warfare is not an aberration, but an inevitable outcome of public schooling. Single, government-run districts and schools force people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs into zero-sum political combat to determine whose children will get what their families think they need, and whose will not. Public schooling forces neighbor to battle neighbor, with nothing less than their children’s minds at stake.
The solution is to embrace the foundational American value: liberty. Instead of requiring people to fund government institutions, let money follow children to schools or other educational arrangements their families choose. Instead of forcing a war of all against all, let those who want critical race theory select schools that teach it, others pick schools that do not. Let those who want schools with mask mandates choose them, others select schools where parents decide if their children wear masks. Let people peacefully coexist. . . .
The good news is that this year 18 states have either created new choice programs or expanded existing ones. It is, no doubt, largely a consequence of many Americans’ intense frustrations last year as their public schools refused to open to in-person education. A rough estimate suggests that this leap in choice could increase students enrolled in private schools via choice programs from roughly 600,000 this year to nearly 2.4 million – a four-fold increase.