There is a lot that the media gets wrong about public education. I’m not getting into the debate today on which is the superior product between public and private education. There is plenty out there on the issue already and at the end of the day it doesn’t seem that there is an indisputable conclusion that we can reach.
Today I want to briefly explore why the left really doesn’t want to have school choice, and it has nothing to do with teachers, students, student performance on tests, standing up for anybody, or because they fear competition on providing a superior educational experience.
I believe that public schools today can compete academically and are free to indoctrinate liberally (pun intended). The real, and perhaps only, reason the left doesn’t want school choice is because they don’t want people to have an alternative place to school their children that could be absent the left’s social agenda, which is increasingly pervasive in public schools.
Take a look at this month’s CTA Educator magazine. It is all about social agendas, virtually none of it is about sound educational practices. Most of the issue this month is around gender identity and transgender student issues. The magazine is completely one sided in the portrayal of transgenderism as a thing to be celebrated. I’m personally of the belief that transgender issues are a form of mental illness and that instead of embracing it as something to celebrate, we should look to help those who are dealing with it. We wouldn’t have someone embrace their bi-polar disorder or paranoid schizophrenia. We’d want them to get help. I know that my classification of transgender people as mentally ill will come across as hateful or bigoted. I’ll qualify my statements with my own personal belief that fully formed adults (but perhaps not confused teens or children) should be free to do what they want as long as it doesn’t do harm to others. This means that a grown man should be allowed to wear a dress and makeup, and I should be allowed to say that I’m not so sure that’s healthy. However, completely ignoring the fact that transgendered people are 20 times more likely to kill themselves seems to be ignoring the fact that medical help may be needed. My view on transgender issues could be totally wrong, but to not give equal space to the other side of the story just drives home my point. In the educational arena of the left, there isn’t usually a place for alternative viewpoints that run counter to their narrative.
Public education leadership is, for the most part, pretty one sided in their agenda. You don’t see a lot of the right pushing political ideas in schools. Educational leadership mostly pushes everything from the left-of-center viewpoint and subtly take digs at the right. They don’t want to lose their captive audience of young impressionable minds. Allowing alternatives to public school will make them have to compete for students, and pushing a political agenda will no longer be possible. Most businesses don’t get political because they lose customers to competitors in their industry. Schools get political because their customers have no alternative right now. That’s the real reason the left doesn’t want school choice. The left doesn’t want to have to compete socially and ideologically in schools.
Will school choice work? I don’t know. But I won’t weep if it happens. It wouldn’t matter if I did, because they’ll be plenty of weeping, screeching and hysterics from the left to make up for my stoic silence when they lose their unfettered access to indoctrination of young minds. I do not think that a teacher or school should ever push a political agenda and must be fair to all sides of the issue. I think school choice might force just that.