Monday, February 15, 2010

Public Education and Thought Control

One argument libertarians offer against government funding for education is that it facilitates thought control, since funding education means defining education.  This problem is particularly accute if funding comes in the form of public schools; it exists but is more easily avoided if funding comes as education vouchers.

Advocates of public schools view this concern as wild exaggeration, but I wonder what they think about a recent decision by the Texas School Board:

Finally, the board considered an amendment to require students to evaluate the contributions of significant Americans. The names proposed included Thurgood Marshall, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy. All passed muster except Kennedy, who was voted down.
More broadly, as this article explains, Christian Conservatives have become almost a majority of the Texas Board, and they want the public school curriculum to teach that the founding fathers were Christian and intended for the country to be the same.

The power to fund is the power to control.

14 comments:

adPirz said...

So your argument then is that private schools will somehow alleviate this problem? Wouldn't it just exacerbate issues of targeted curricula because parents would choose to send their kids, for instance, to schools with even more faith-based education?

Steve said...

Nowhere in that post did he say he was opposed to faith-based education.

Mike Huben said...

If you are worried that the power to fund is the power to control, then vouchers are exactly what you should avoid to prevent state control of private schools.

With 50 states and innumerable school districts independently making PUBLIC standards, we're not in much danger of thought control. I worry much more about the unlimited possibilities of indoctrination at private schools, where abuse of children's minds is not subject to public observation.

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