Sunday, May 28, 2006

America's Future...

...belongs to her best and brightest. Dr. Hurd explains:

A recent MSNBC story discusses the sad state of American public schools. Surprise, surprise; President Bush's (and Ted Kennedy's) "No Child Left Behind" act has only led public schools to scramble more to make it LOOK like they're doing better. In actual practice, according to the study, there are more inexperienced teachers than ever; fewer and fewer children are grasping the facts and principles of basic science; and textbooks are being left to do the work while psychologists, claiming that now a near-majority of kids suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, ensure that most children can be excused from the ability to read textbooks since they "can't pay attention."

The story goes on to ask, "Can America compete?"

My answer is an overwhelming yes. Why? Because it isn't the majority of adults (who are presently school-age kids) who will lift the society in the future. It's the brightest, most innovative and most hard-working few who accomplish out of proportion to the rest. They build the businesses, create the jobs, and make the discoveries. These few will rise above the mediocre public school system, as well as the inadequacies that most (but not all) private schools possess. Many innovative geniuses, upon whom we all depend whether we know it or not, do poorly in school, and it's no wonder given the awful state of schools, past and present.

I don't mean to minimize the problem. I don't mean to deny that education, properly done, is profoundly important. I don't mean to back away from my own ongoing position that public schools be phased out, dollars be returned to taxpayers and parents be put in charge of finding education for their kids in the marketplace. What I do mean to suggest is that the best and brightest can rise above a lot of things, so long as they live in freedom. It's worse than futile to think that public schools can do anything to educate kids at all; they're nothing more than babysitting services designed to herd kids together and go through the motions of "socializing" them. Even mediocre schools can usually manage to help kids learn to more or less read and write; but you can forget independent thinking and, according to the MSNBC story, you can forget about math and science skills.

Those who want to think will think, through it all. The public school system will never be good. If you care about the future, and the present, fight for the preservation and expansion of individual freedom. Individual freedom is for everyone, but it protects and nourishes the best, the brightest and the most innovative among us. And that's still the greatest hope for our future. It always has been.

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