Sunday, June 15, 2008

Letter #1: School Vouchers

A local newspaper bills itself as a conservative alternative to the AJC. At times it succeeds.

In February of 2007 the paper published an op-ed piece about school vouchers. I wrote a response, which was published the next week.

Here are links to the originals:
* Original Article: p. 35 of http://beaconcast.com/downloads/20070703
* My Response: p. 37 of http://beaconcast.com/downloads/20070703_1

Below is my letter.

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Editor: School Vouchers

Parents require viable means of caring for their children, and it is one of the primary duties of government to assist them in this endeavor.

In a world of complex social interactions, mobile widespread populations, rapidly-changing moral developments, and international governance, trade, and ecological considerations, it is crucial to have solid knowledge, skills, and criteria for evaluating and understanding different cultural dispositions so as to arrive at sound intellectual and moral conclusions.

The best way, I think, of educating anyone in how to reach this goal is to form in them a concrete understanding that acknowledges the unchanging aspects and needs of human nature and the role of family, country, faith, and other inherently binding factors.

For this reason I read with abhorrence the Davis and LoBracco op-ed supporting current notions of diversity in the schools and advocating secular schooling; also troubling was the favorable mention of Bob Chase and the NEA, who have a reputation for putting the needs of teachers ahead of the needs of children.

A school environment is not sufficiently diverse when it obliterates the integrity of diverse groups and replaces them with a static, egalitarian, collectivist, homogenized alternative that promiscuously draws on incongruous sources. A classroom is less intellectually diverse, not more, when disparate elements are presented side by side and trusting students are told to accept on blind faith the dogma that one option is just as good as the other, and that what separates them are just accidental subjective points of view.

At times different views simply cannot be reconciled: one position or another must be chosen, and there cannot be even tolerance of its opposite. Will a monogamist sell his daughter to a polygamist? When the state-run school is obligatory and lack of financial resources precludes the possibility of an alternative educational environment, the monogamist will be forced to consider it – an act of violence against that person’s nature, and a degradation of what that individual holds dear.

Teach a variety of politics, literature, art, music, histories, culture, religions, philosophies, and economics. More importantly, teach how to judge between them using criteria that are not clich├ęd expedients for a dehumanized state.

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