Skip to comments.Evolution battles caused by politically powerful
Posted on 01/24/2007 3:02:32 PM PST by Tim Long
Evolution battles caused by politically powerful Cato Institute says solution is simple: Allow choice
A new study is blaming the monolithic public school system being used in the United States for the estimated 150 major battles over the course of the last year over religion, evolutionary theory, slogans on T-shirts, the "gay" agenda and other points of contention.
"All across the country, public schools threw Americans' fundamental values into conflict during the 2005-2006 school year whether over intelligent design, dress codes, controversial school books, or sundry other divisive topics," said the study by Neal McCluskey, policy analyst with the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom.
"This was not an aberration. American history is littered with an endless series of such conflicts, and the problem has only grown worse as public school systems have become more centralized and the nation more diverse," he said. "These conflicts are not only inescapable under our monolithic system of official schools, they are actually caused by it.
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"Different cultural, ethnic, and religious groups have no choice but to enter the political melee if they want to see their values taught and desires met by the public schools," he said.
The study, titled, "Why We Fight: How Public Schools Cause Social Conflict," also offered a solution:
"So is American education doomed to eternal acrimony? Thankfully, it doesn't have to be. If public education were driven by free parental choice, it could escape the Balkanizing battles that plague our current system, because individual parents could choose schools that comport with their values, and there would be no need to fight over public schools for which all must pay, but only the most politically powerful can control."
The study notes that many Americans believe public schools are the "gentle flame beneath the Great American Melting Pot," and that through them, differing cultures, religions and life choices can meld into a cohesive society.
However, the truth is anything but that, the report said. "Public schooling forces everyone to pay for a single official system that does not and indeed cannot reflect the public's diverse and often conflicting views. The inevitable result of this system is endless social discord over what is taught," the study noted.
"Indeed, rather than bringing people together, public school often forces people of disparate backgrounds and beliefs into political combat. This paper tracks almost 150 such incidents in the 2005-2006 school year alone. Whether over the teaching of evolution, the content of library books, religious expression in the schools, or several other common points of contention, conflict was constant in American public education last year," McCluskey said.
"To end the fighting caused by state-run schooling, we should transform our system from one in which the government establishes and controls schools, to one in which individual parents are empowered to select schools that share their moral values and education goals for children," he said.
In other words, attach the money that now is being allocated by state and local taxing districts to the students, instead of the schools. Schools then could compete for the students, teaching a reflection of the values those students' families hold dear, he said during an online forum on the report.
"Public school does not overcome diversity and somehow make people into one," he said. "It forces diverse people to fight for their values."
The institute, which rejects descriptions for itself such as "conservative" or "liberal," says it pursues the "principles of the American Revolution individual liberty, limited government, the free market, and the rule of law."
"The Jeffersonian philosophy that animates Cato's work has increasingly come to be called 'libertarianism' or 'market liberalism.' It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism."
Its study found over the last year only one state Wyoming did not have "divisive, values-laden school warfare." Eighteen states had wrestling matches over "intelligent design." In Dover, Pa., the dispute over a plan to have students read a statement that evolution is a theory ended up in federal court. It was not uncommon for townspeople to refuse to speak with those on the other side of the dispute, the report noted.
It found that freedom of expression battles raged, especially over the issue of illegal immigration, and a student in California was penalized for having an American flag in her pocket.
Book-banning fights erupted in eight states, and racial issues hit a boiling point when a black state senator in Nebraska tried to create a school district where blacks would be the majority in population and in control.
Thirteen states battled with themselves over sex education, and another eight had issues with teaching homosexuality. In Massachusetts, one parent objected when a school superintendent allowed second-graders to be taught a book about two "gay" princes kissing and marrying. "They're trying to indoctrinate our children," said parent Robin Wirthlin.
"Imposing government-run schooling on every American the opposite of freedom and choice has been the cause of constant social and political conflict, while enabling people to select schools that reflect their own values, use the curricula they desire, and so on, is essential to defusing social conflict," the report found.
McCluskey previously taught high school English and worked at the Center for Education Reform, where he studied subjects ranging from cyber charter schools to class size.
Way to go Cato.
Cato hates anything that smacks of the slightest degree of being a 'moral' battle anyway.
"You can't legislate morality", pops out of these guys like a parrot in a cage.
If you read their report (linked to in the WND article), it seems more favorable to the Darwinists' opposition.
Cato lost tremendous amounts of credibility when they denied that such a thing as a monopoly could only exist with government backing, that otherwise monopolies could never develop, or would self-destruct.
And therefore, that no efforts should be made to prevent the development of monopolies, and that oligopolies were far better than a multiplicity of providers or suppliers.
The trouble was, that they tried to implement this philosophy into public policy through the Federal Communications Commission, and their chairman, Michael Powell.
The end result has been far worse than what we had in the media. We may thank the Cato Institute for Clear Channel Communications destroying radio through monopolizing it in many markets. We may also thank them for the oligopoly of major media corporations merging to form super-media: TV, movies, music and video production, publishing of books and magazines, etc.
And only Cato can justify any of it by saying that it is better than what was, and shall become even better when it all implodes.
Oh phooey on social and economic experimentation.
In that case, they must be wrong about everything, which I guess would make the wrong about this too:
"A new study is blaming the monolithic public school system being used in the United States for the estimated 150 major battles over the course of the last year over religion, evolutionary theory, slogans on T-shirts, the "gay" agenda and other points of contention."
Short term monopolies can exist but they sew the seeds for their destruction long term.
Debeers in the diamond industry is one of the few worldwide monopolies. Even there Debeers has been recently losing some control.
What Cato seems to advocate strikes me as only delaying the problem until students leave academia, at which point it gets even worse.
Suppose we shatter the education monolith into a cafeteria of botique specialty classes. Students enrolled in Pentecostal Biology 110 would not be allowed to take Baptist Geometry 105 or any other courses outside their religious track. Upon graduation, we would have a class of matriculates whose knowledge of history, science, and the arts is different for each track, conflicting, contradicting, but causing no problems because, since they were never in classes together, they never knew what the other guy believed.
Everyone wins. Parents are happy, students feel educated. The problem starts when the young adults go into the workplace and find themselves arguing constantly with everyone around them over everything, each believing what they were taught, seeing others as ill-informed.
IOW, what Cato would do is massively inflate the cost of schooling while delaying the struggle for ideas that will happen sooner or later.
Better, I'd think, to form a common worldview while young than have to start from scratch as an adult confronted with an unwelcome reality.
School choice ping
Creationists: We can't prove our beliefs, so call it science, then legislate it! ; )
It'll be interesting to see who does and doesn't weigh in on this one.
Bump for later reading
[Darwinists: We can't defend our faith, so call it science, and then legislate it!]
They've already legislated it, making it a crime to teach anythign but the faith- we can't have the government forcing moral religion, but we sure can make it legislative law to force secular religion
Design in nature? Must be natural and can't have a designer other than good old mother nature- so we beleive, so we shall teach- by way of legislated law. Proof mother nature is responsible for the design? Bah- don't need proof- just a good healthy dose of faith. But don't you dare call it a religion- it's science by golly!
And get ready for the next government legislated religion of choice 'global warming' shoved down our throats in schools as well.
What exactly is "secular religion"?
For most, that 'unwelcome reality' will come when they stand at the Great White Throne in judgement. There cannot be a common world view, and attempts to create one can only be deemed theocratic.
Humanism. That's what secular means, as in "Novus Ordo Seclorem" Freemasonry for those that don't even know that they are masons ;o)
A good sign. Free markets need a moral center of some strength.
The Brights, for one sect. Humanists for another.
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