Why It Is Reasonable Not To Send Your Children To Public School

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

The world has changed quite a bit since I entered Dundee Elementary in 1965–66. No-fault divorce did not yet exist. Two-parent families were the norm. Abortion had not yet been legalized. The late-modern drug culture had not yet exploded. WWII had been over for more than 20 years and the baby boom had just ended. The suburbs were burgeoning. Top 40 radio was in its heyday and Roger W. Morgan was playing the hits on the Mighty 1290 KOIL. The hippie movement was still a sub-culture. The Vietnam War was intensifying but mostly we got just a moment or two of it on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. The civil rights movement was on the news as Dr King and others led peaceful demonstrations calling Americans to honor the promises enshrined in the constitution. Too often, however, those marches were met by fire hoses and police dogs. The Watts Riots, which were a reaction to decades of unjust treatment of minorities by the LAPD, convulsed Los Angeles in 1965 leaving scars that would last for decades. In those years, however, my school and neighborhood were all white. So, naturally, I did not see any oppression even if it was not far from my quiet (still remarkably well-preserved) neighborhood near the old money neighborhood in Omaha. Economically, things were stable. The median family income in the USA was about $6,900 (= approx. $53,000 in 2017) and most families lived on a single income. Credit cards were just coming into use. The inflation rate was higher then (about 4%). Perhaps everyone was miserable and repressed but it did not seem so but then what did I know? I turned five years old in 1966.

Public school was among the dominant realities of my life until 1979. When I began school, teachers were not only allowed to use corporal punishment, they were expected to administer it as needed. I certainly gave my teachers plenty of reason to spank me. Schools were expected to act in place of the parents (in loco parentis). Nearly all of my teachers were female and they were expected, during most of my education, to respect the authority of the parents. The emphasis in school was, until the mid-70s, on the objective. This is what parents meant in the 80s when they complained that they wanted teachers to focus on “reading, writing, and arithmetic.” They could sense that something was shifting but most Americans did not know the history of public schools and were not aware that prospective teachers were being taught in “teachers college” and in universities that education was not “rote memorization,” that it was about “enrichment” and “experience” more grammar, logic, and rhetoric. During my entire primary and secondary education whenever anyone mentioned memorization it was inevitably accompanied with the adjective “rote” and we were given to think that was a bad thing. No teacher explained to me not only the utility of memorizing or the mechanics of it until my logic professor did so in passing, in 1981.

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