Thursday, December 10, 2009

'School board democracy'

Reading today's news stories about local school-board candidates in Oklahoma (the filing period ended yesterday), I am reminded how much I agree with Professor Jay P. Greene on this matter: "Rather than rely on the phony democracy of low turnout and insider controlled school boards, reformers should rely on markets." Dr. Greene has concluded that people's widespread commitment to school board democracy
is part of our national secular religion of public school. It's actually more like a cult. We falsely believe that the public school is the foundation of our democracy when in fact our democracy preceded it by more than a century. We wrongly believe that the public school is the main engine of civic progress when we know that public schools were segregated by law for most of their existence. We wrongly believe that public schools are best at teaching political tolerance and other civic values, when the evidence shows that private schools actually serve these public goals better.

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