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The K12 educational enterprise (to put it kindly) is certainly one that believes deeply in the civic mission of K12 education. It’s hard to read any publication emanating from the Ed Schools or teacher union establishment that suggests anything to the contrary – or indeed anything that suggests civic values can be promoted by anything other than government controlled, funded and administered schools.

I find this incredibly hard to appreciate, for at least two reasons. First, are our educational elites so limited in their thinking that they simply cannot fathom how families and their children can become civic minded without being forced into government schooling? That there is no way to establish common understandings of our political and moral foundations without it coming from a school of Education? Are there NO counterexamples of civic “virtue” absent public schooling? Perhaps my favorite counterexample is of course the American Revolution – an entire generation of men and women we celebrate today as setting the foundation for our great experiment in democracy and liberty. One wonders where these folks got all their civic virtue from without the public school system? After all, the government school system as we know it today wouldn’t come for at least 3 or 4 score after the Founding. But never mind that, it justĀ soundsĀ plausible that the only way to promote civic virtue is via government schooling, so that is the contemporary position.

Second, and this point is going to seem to come out of left field to some, is that I find it hard to accept ANY promotion of civic values from the folks that control the educational establishment. It is plain as day that the corpus of thinking in education is “Progressive.” That’s not my jaded view of the world, that’s simply how it is. Fine. Great. So be it. But the difficulty I have is that the Progressive way of thinking is one that is hostile to human populations and improvements in human well being over time. Indeed, it is from within the modern Progressive movement that we hear things like, “what the human race needs is a great virus to come along” and very “serious” thinkers are all over college campuses promoting birth control, population control and other measures (what may they be?) despite the overwhelming evidence that population growth and standards of living improve hand in hand, and that fertility rates fall as living standards improve – even in places where we once thought we had to “leave ’em for dead” to paraphrase the benevolent and wise Paul Ehrlich.

So … I have a hard time hearing all of this morally-preachy-goody rhetoric and policy-making from within a community that pretty clearly disdains the addition of young children to the world. After all, young children are worse for the environment than adults – they are NOT productive at all, and at those young ages are surely resource destroyers and not creators like the adults of the world. Given that, I simply cannot take the “we must promote civic virtue” argument seriously. I know this illustrates a lapse in my mental well-being, as is surely going to be said when folks read this, but please do try to convince me that these two positions are not in hostile contradiction to one another.

3 Responses to “Do We NEED Government Coerced Schooling to Promote Civic Virtue? And Other Twisty Pretzels”

  1. coyote says:

    I dont think the words “retired from blogging” mean what you think they mean. Not that I am complainig, I am hwppy you are still writing.

  2. jb says:

    Seems to me there is little chance that government schools will teach kids that our nation was in fact founded on a profound distrust, not just of monarchy, but of government per se.

  3. Harry says:

    Following the wise Coyote (are not all Coyotes wise?) and jb is tough, but being a wiseass too, Wintercow makes an excellent point about the American Revolution, about which our public school establishment has tried since Alger Hiss to drive down the memory hole.

    Any of us who have had children taught by the local teacher union steward (a “humanities” teacher knows where he comes from, at least me, who tried to convert him from a committed communist (he argued for Fidel Castro’s and Mao’s improvements, and persistently denied failure) know how our government schools promote civic virtue. They teach conformity, not analytic skills, but one’s kid , if she is smart enough, can learn to think for herself, and reason with her Dad and the rest of the world

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