Sunday, June 25, 2006

A response to A High School Reading List

I'm a 39 year resident of the community, have children in the district's schools, and have been a teacher for the last 16 years, and I trust the people who are trained to teach more than a bureaucrat who is offended by "profane" language that is found in many of the books you would consider classic.

The above comment came from someone who chose to remain anonymous, so I can only assume that the responder has identified himself or herself truthfully. This comment deserves a couple of remarks.

1. None of the books in question deserve to be called a classic. One of the books, Lovely Bones, published in 2002, contains a particularly vile description of rape. Nothing in this book would qualify it as a future classic. We are not talking about different views of the grade appropriateness of true classics. We are talking about a book that is assigned to students by teachers such as the respondent. We are talking about teachers who have no concept of the classics nor any sense of propriety or shame. We are talking about a belief that teachers know what is best for your children. As this responder has shown, unqualified trust in teachers is foolish at best.

2. Where I agree with the responder is the question of why anyone would put unqualified trust in their elected officials. We are simply individuals with our own opinions and beliefs. We are not omniscient and have no more knowledge of raising children than those who elected us. As the responder adequately proved, school staff and administration are also prone to poor decisions. The main difference is that some teachers, and all ardent teacher unionists, adhere to ideologies that are the polar opposite of your beliefs. And, they get to use the classroom to further these beliefs. Beware.

So, what's the solution? A move toward school choice and privatization. Under such a system, parents who want their children indoctrinated will seek out the responder as a classroom teacher. Those of us who don't want such garage filling the heads of our children can opt for other forms of education. And, the good teachers who find themselves surrounded by those such as the responder will be able to work at schools that have philosophies similar to their own.

The free market has the ability to solve these issues. A government-run, unionized education system, simply aggravates the problem.

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