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Whose Kids?

The "Texas Textbook Wars" illustrates a problem of which most Americans are completely unaware. In Texas, as you know, 15 people - 10 Republicans and 5 Democrats - are deciding what the curriculum and textbooks shall be for millions of Texas school children. Because of the size of the Texas schools program, their decisions will impact textbook publishing and curricula for school systems all over the country.

In essence, this means that 15 people - Texans, no less, or Texans, at least, depending on your view of Texas - are about to determine the course of the education of America's children for the next decade. I can't think of a better example of the danger of turning the education of our children over to the State. Government has proven itself completely incompetent to manage the education of America's children, but here it is yet again, setting the course for the next generation of school children, and most Americans are simply yawning and reaching for the remote.

Back in the early 19th century, when public school was just beginning in America, parents retained the control they had had over the education of their children since the earliest colonial days. Each political precinct in the growing nation had its own school board - 160,000 compared to somewhere around 16,000 today, and, of course, Texas - and the school boards were responsible to the parents to teach the curriculum the parents required of them. From the beginning of the American experience parental control of the education of their own children was the norm. No longer.

If there ever was a better argument for private schools, home schools, classical schools, and most other alternatives to public education, I don't know what it is. No state government, nor the federal government, should be given the reins for the education of our children, yet here we are with a nightmare scenario, and few people seem to care. By whatever means parents can resist or avoid this pedagogical travesty, they certainly should. This is not to impune the good work done by many public school educators, including many Christians. It's simply to point out that this system is insane, and we are insane if we simply sit by and let it continue to operate as is.

T. M. Moore
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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