My position on public education has evolved in a shocking direction – shocking even to me. I now advocate abolishing the Department of Education and dismantling the public education system.
I used to be a huge supporter of public education. It seems so obvious in theory. Let's educate as many children as possible to benefit them individually and to benefit society as a whole. Using taxpayer funds to provide that education makes sense since the whole society benefits.
But, the problem is, the greatest achievement of the public school system, the production of good and loyal citizens for the melting pot, is no longer happening. Public schools used to unify the country by teaching commonly held American values. Sure, reading, writing and arithmetic were taught – but there was something more that I suspect was consistent from school to school across the country. Portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln hung in every classroom. The flag was prominently displayed. The teachers and administrators imparted a love of country and pride in the ideals of America to students. The founding principles of "all men created equal", of the "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", of the "American trinity" (Prager's term) - "liberty", "in God we trust" and "e pluribus Unum" - were points of pride. Blacks didn't want to be "Africanized" – they wanted full and active participation in the American dream. No one questioned whether it was good to be an American. We all knew we – our country – were something special.
The opposite is true today in the public schools. The culture and values to which I refer above are now known as "white culture" – or even worse – "white Christian culture". The schools are in the business of Balkanizing the students. "Let's see – you're black, so you belong in this group; you're Latino, so you belong over here; you're gay, so go over there; you're white and Christian, so you go way over there where you're ideas can't hurt anyone." When my older siblings were in elementary school, the day started with a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. When I went to elementary school, the day started with the pledge. Today, the prayer is unthinkable and the pledge is controversial. This is the "secular humanism" taught in public schools. Don't believe that religion isn't taught. The schools are preachers of the modern liberal faith in multiculturalism, environmentalism, moral relativism, anti-imperialism (as if this is what America is about!) and what I call racialism (race consciousness). They are essentially Democrat party indoctrination camps.
Multiculturalism and moral relativism have led to labeling and categorizing by race, language, sexual orientation, etc… This is even more evident at the college level, where many universities have separate student unions, sororities, fraternities and even separate graduation ceremonies for black and white students. And this "diversity" is promoted as not just a good thing, but essential to the full learning experience.
This is why I'm for destroying the public education system. I believe it is beyond repair and that the damage it is doing to the fabric of our country is way beyond any good it might do by teaching the three "R's". I'm not sure I have a solution, but perhaps public funding should be provided to parents to let them choose a private institution. I admit I fear some of the ideologically driven schools that might crop up (like madrassas), but I believe many more kids would be taught American values through private schools than the current public school system. This is the unfortunate result of the Left's take-over of the education establishment.
I know Chesterton says if you love an idea, you work toward it; you don't change the idea when the going gets tough. I've decided I love the idea of my country too much to tolerate the public education system anymore.