by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“Public” schools have been a catastrophe for the United States. This certainly isn’t an original assertion, but as we watch thousands of authoritarian brats tearing down the legacies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, it’s more apparent than ever.
State-run schools have undercut two fundamental conditions of a healthy tolerant society. First, they’ve created millions of civic illiterates who are disconnected from long-held communal values and national identity. Second, they’ve exacerbated the very inequalities that trigger the tearing apart of fissures.
If you’re interested in ferreting out “systemic racism,” go to a big-city public-school system. No institution has fought harder to preserve segregated communities than the average teachers’ union. And I don’t mean only in the schools.
Prosperous Americans already enjoy school choice — and not merely because they can afford private schools. Anyone who has ever tried to buy a suburban home in a major metro area can tell you how acutely school districts influence home prices. Many middle-class and working-class families are priced out of areas with good schools because of inflated home values and high property taxes. And families who might otherwise choose to live in more diverse areas are kept out because of failing schools.
This entire dynamic is driven by the antiquated notion that the best way to educate kids is to throw them into the nearest government building. It’s the teachers’ unions that safeguard these fiefdoms through racketeering schemes: First they funnel taxpayer dollars to the political campaigns of allies who, when elected, return the favor by protecting union monopolies and supporting higher taxes that fund unions and ultimately political campaigns. So goes the cycle, decade after decade, one failed student after the next.