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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Freedom in Education

For John, BLUFYes, the elites are worried that ideas are drifting.  They need to do a better job talking with the rest of us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am quoting this blog post from Law Professor Ann Althouse in full.  The reason is it is short and covers a lot of ground, around the theme of public schools.

The issue here is that there is what some see as a subtle linguistic shift from the terminology "public schools" to "government schools".  At the same time we are seeing an enrollment shift away from public schools.  There have been parochial schools for a long time.  Now home schooling is becoming more popular, with millions of children being home schooled.  Part of that, I am sure, is families where one parent can stay home an both parents are concerned about the quality of education in public schools.

Here is Professor Althouse's post, going from a quote from The New York Times to a quote from Ronald Reagan to a Linguistics Professor (Dr Deborah Tannen) to a Supreme Court Decision from way back in 1923.

Said a woman in Kansas, quoted in a NYT article called "Public Schools? To Kansas Conservatives, They’re ‘Government Schools.'"

Experts are also quoted, including linguistics professor Deborah Tannen, who was reminded of Ronald Reagan's famous line: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help’”:

“People tend to trace the demonization of government to Reagan,” Dr. Tannen said. “That’s kind of iconic, how he was using it. He set the government up as the enemy.”
And I'm reminded of the 1923 Supreme Court case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, that said:
The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. Posted by Ann Althouse at 8:00 PM 96 comments
I like the idea expressed in the SCOTUS decision that "excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children".  I have previously linked to an article ("School and Its Discontents") from The Catholic Worker in which the author says that our public schools still follow the Prussian model from the 1800s, wherein students were prepared to work in factories as replaceable units.  That is a bit of an indictment.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  At this point I would like to note that Charter Schools ARE public schools.


marie sheehan said...

How can I get information on home schooling my son. He has 2 more years of high school left, and socialialy he is having a very difficult time at lowell High School.

marie sheehan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
C R Krieger said...


1)  I deleted one of your posts as it looked like a double tap.

2)  I went to my go to guy on this and he sent the following (he goes from Roman Catholic to Secular):

There are a couple of things that might be worth pursuing.  We have younger children and have had good success with Mother of Devine Grace.  She might also want to check out the on-line Catholic school that the Diocese of Burlington Vermont has set up; the National Catholic Register has an article about it which also links to a similar program in the Diocese of Miami and an on-line Jesuit high school.   There are also plenty of other, non-catholic, programs out there.  One thing to consider is the judicious use of the local community college for certain courses such as math and english.  I see that Middlesex Community College has a program for dual enrollment for high school students.  It seems to be just for summer classes, but I would bet they would work with a homeschooling family.  They also offer on-line classes.  If she is worried about throw him to the college aged wolves, she might want to think about night classes, where most of the students are working a regular day job and aren't out partying all the time.  On-line is also good on that point, which Middlesex CC offers.  Finally, I note that MIT is putting most of their courseware on-line.  The benefit of MIT is that frequently it isn't just lectures, but videos of experiments done in front of the whole class.

Best of luck to her.

3)  Follow up at crkrieger at

Regards  —  Cliff

C R Krieger said...


Here are the links:

Mother of Devine Grace

The National Catholic Register

MIT Courseware On-Line

Regards  —  Cliff