Public education for whom?

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, appeared on Morning Joe Monday to do battle with Michael Steele on the topic of education policy.  For the umpteenth time, Morial spewed the false, evil narrative that school vouchers "would be a disaster for inner-city schoolchildren."  Most AT readers understand that this shopworn, damaging nonsense is bought and paid for by the National Education Association, the public school teachers union – which lists the National Urban League as a "partner" on its website, and which has shoveled considerable cash the National Urban League's way.  (The American Federation of Teachers has a cozy relationship as well.)

Naturally, six-figure soccer moms who voted for Hillary are also predictably opposed to vouchers, their own children being comfortably insulated from the scholastic malpractice that runs rampant in inner cities.

But this time, even Mika Brzezinski, normally the designated spoon-feeder and handmaiden of all things progressive, pushed back.  She confided on camera that her daughter, who apparently tutors inner-city kids, agrees with Steele's position, which was that "what we're doing now with urban education just isn't working – parents need a choice."  [Editor's note: She joins another member of the television media elite, Campbell Brown, in voicing this skepticism.  A Google search of the two shows that they seem to be buddies.]

The term public education has been taken as unquestionably positive – like motherhood and patriotism – since Horace Mann invented the concept in 1837.  But is the word "public" the object of the phrase, or does it define the implementation process?  Maybe we need to pose a simple definitional question.  Does public education imply:

1. that all members of the public should be provided a basic education while within a certain age range?

(or)

2. that the infrastructure of providing said universal education must be administered by a public bureaucracy?

Today what we have in America is number two, with only coincidental focus on number one, if at all.  Number one has become an afterthought while politicians genuflect to teachers unions.  In Horace Mann's day, there was no disconnect between the two meanings of public, so no alternative scenario decoupling the two concepts was needed.  But times change, as we see terms like marriage and gender being eagerly and easily redefined by the left.  Why can't conservatives similarly insist on updating the full phrase "public education," with an insistence on definition number one while accepting number two only when it makes sense as a logical option – not as a straitjacket that thwarts the basic goal and meaning?

Loren can be reached for comment at loren@twopare.com.

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, appeared on Morning Joe Monday to do battle with Michael Steele on the topic of education policy.  For the umpteenth time, Morial spewed the false, evil narrative that school vouchers "would be a disaster for inner-city schoolchildren."  Most AT readers understand that this shopworn, damaging nonsense is bought and paid for by the National Education Association, the public school teachers union – which lists the National Urban League as a "partner" on its website, and which has shoveled considerable cash the National Urban League's way.  (The American Federation of Teachers has a cozy relationship as well.)

Naturally, six-figure soccer moms who voted for Hillary are also predictably opposed to vouchers, their own children being comfortably insulated from the scholastic malpractice that runs rampant in inner cities.

But this time, even Mika Brzezinski, normally the designated spoon-feeder and handmaiden of all things progressive, pushed back.  She confided on camera that her daughter, who apparently tutors inner-city kids, agrees with Steele's position, which was that "what we're doing now with urban education just isn't working – parents need a choice."  [Editor's note: She joins another member of the television media elite, Campbell Brown, in voicing this skepticism.  A Google search of the two shows that they seem to be buddies.]

The term public education has been taken as unquestionably positive – like motherhood and patriotism – since Horace Mann invented the concept in 1837.  But is the word "public" the object of the phrase, or does it define the implementation process?  Maybe we need to pose a simple definitional question.  Does public education imply:

1. that all members of the public should be provided a basic education while within a certain age range?

(or)

2. that the infrastructure of providing said universal education must be administered by a public bureaucracy?

Today what we have in America is number two, with only coincidental focus on number one, if at all.  Number one has become an afterthought while politicians genuflect to teachers unions.  In Horace Mann's day, there was no disconnect between the two meanings of public, so no alternative scenario decoupling the two concepts was needed.  But times change, as we see terms like marriage and gender being eagerly and easily redefined by the left.  Why can't conservatives similarly insist on updating the full phrase "public education," with an insistence on definition number one while accepting number two only when it makes sense as a logical option – not as a straitjacket that thwarts the basic goal and meaning?

Loren can be reached for comment at loren@twopare.com.

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