Thursday, November 16, 2006

Public School Options

In response to statement made a few weeks ago by Jonathan, the Libertarian:

As a libertarian, I think we may agree on "the separation of School and State," in a first best world (or perhaps vouchers in a second best world). However, alas, we don't live in that world, and I don't think we will for some time.

There are a lot of intermediate steps that could be taken between getting rid of the public schools altogether (which I favor) and vouchers (which are better than nothing, but far from fair). We could pass a state and/or federal law which would exempt from school levies people who are not parents or guardians of public-schooled children. We could pass laws which give parents the right to choose what is taught in the public schools, with no exceptions based on church and state separation arguments. We could get rid of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education and all federal and state standards and turn the public schools completely over to local control. We could pass laws that get rid of the requirement that a child must reside in the district that a public school is located in order to attend it. This would give parents more choice and would improve the quality of schools because it would create competition. There are police officers who do nothing but check up on people to make sure that they and their kids are really living in the district where they are going to school. What a waste! These cops’ efforts could be instead used against the criminals who are really hurting people. Getting rid of compulsory attendance laws would also free up police resources to fight real crime.

I do not want to give Christianity any preferential treatment over any other religion. I only want that Christians not be forced to pay taxes to support an ideology that they are against. This argument over whether the United States is or was a Christian nation is not that important to me. The fact of the matter is that 90% of people who sit in a church pew on a given Sunday are not regenerated believers. I believe in doing what is right in the here and now. If I lived in a nation that had a different religious heritage, I would be pushing for the same sense of fairness, justice, and liberty that I am pushing for here. History is important, but what we are struggling against here goes beyond a historical argument. I strongly believe that Christians are being persecuted in this country.

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