Sunday, January 04, 2009

Lock up your children

A local school official is reportedly on a "mission to figure out where more than 130,000 [random county] students should go to school." He considers it a "high calling." I generally don't wade into such debates since they have little bearing on our parenting plans. Besides, having a point-by-point argument with a bureaucrat is much like wrestling with a pig: you both get dirty and the pig loves it.

But this situation seems a good illustration of the educational gestapo's attitude toward our children: "We - not parents, not communities - must decide what's best for these students."

I've always been wary of people who are on passionate missions involving other people's children. They seem likely to be pedophiles, narcissists or just plain busybody do-gooders. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, though a man, a teacher, who lives several doors down from us, is now being investigated for having and sharing child pornography over the Internet and most teachers and bureaucrats proclaim their love and concern for the well-being of children while espousing harmful, nonsensical policies. As I've said before, "for the children" are the three most expensive words in politics and the worst excuse for unquestioned ideas.

The backdrop for this well-meaning bureaucrat's comments is the implementation of a diversity policy that forces the schools to frequently reassign students to achieve the [politically] correct balance of income levels among the families of enrolled students. The reasoning is that a school's test scores are higher when students come from a range of income levels. But I wonder, is it really better for students to be bused far from home to sit next to someone who is "different" from them just so test scores in that school will be higher? Should they be yanked from their communities, their neighborhood schools, their friends for this purpose? If you're really concerned about the children, continuity and stability should take a higher priority than diversity and test scores. Shouldn't it? And since when do students benefit from high collective test scores? (No need to really answer any of these questions, by the way. The answers are meaningless and only serve to justify an increasingly irrelevant system.)

A couple of assumptions about the government's responsibility here are frightening. It's not for the government to decide where or how we educate our children. It's not the government's job to decide how diverse our circle of friends is. It's not the government's job to catalogue what my children know and when they know it.

Those decisions are the high calling of a parent, not a government bureaucrat.

1 comment:

Hi, My name is: Tim said...

This reminds me of a debate a couple of years back when they were talking about the removal of AP and accelerated classes from the curriculum because it segregated students. It reminds me of a cross stitch my grandmother had hanging in her home which read, "It's hard to be an eagle when you're surrounded by a bunch of turkeys."

Kids are best placed with their peers... not the social collective of age segregated peer assignees as appointed by the government to be your friends for the next twelve years, but those close to you in ability, interest, life, and immeasurable qualities which don't quite fit in a mold. If nothing else, proximity to one's home should be the highest priority factored in. No student should have to be bussed for hours to and from their government indoctrination camp.

Big Brother knows best. Trust in Big Brother.