The ultimate irony may be that today's educators cry tolerance and diversity when public schools were originally instituted to wipe these things out, to make one homogenous, think-alike (even if they couldn't make them look alike) herd of citizens. School founders objected to and even feared the "unusual" cultural and religious backgrounds of so many immigrant children.
Today's public schools are no better on the diversity front — just slightly different. In the past, it was the western European cultures that were celebrated and the others looked upon with suspicion and disdain. Today, the situation is reversed in many schools. Tolerance and acceptance of all cultures is something that has never existed in government schools. Likewise on the religious and moral front.
Tolerance is not what public schools teach — they teach preference — preference for some cultures over others, for some beliefs over others. The ideas that are preferred change with the political and social winds. The lack of equity never changes.
But before the advent of public schools and outside schools even today, Americans have plugged away at living in peace with their astoundingly diverse neighbors, and where the government doesn't stick its meddling hand in, they largely succeed. No other country on the face of the earth is so diverse and so peaceful at the same time. Fortunately, Americans manage to recover each time some branch of the government imposes yet another social plan to "improve" something. People have already been making far better progress on their own.
Government schools are not about diversity. They are about conformity. Conformity to "what" changes, but the basic concept does not. It's the whole idea behind schools — all children must think alike, and we, the experts, will determine what it is they should think, which cultures they should approve of, which they should not, which ideas they should embrace, which they should not, what they should learn, what they should not.
Social reformers are determined to leave nothing to chance. Unfortunately for them it doesn't work with humans. Humans improve when left free to do so, unlikely as that seems to those who would shape others in their image.
Samuel Johnson put it well:
"All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it."
The next case: Who will keep the private schools accountable?
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The Case for Separation
Last updated March 28, 2007