Superhero "The Tick" hips us to this David Boaz article in honor of the 80th anniversary of the Scopes "Monkey Trial." Boaz asked how we got from school monkeys to Heather Has Two Mommies:
How does this battle relate to school choice? It illustrates the problem with a one-size-fits-all monopoly school system. Lots of Tennesseans wanted their children taught the Biblical story of creation. But there were others, probably a minority, who wanted their children to learn the scientific consensus in biology class. Because the school system was a state monopoly, they couldn't both get what they wanted…
Several years ago, New York City saw a battle royal over the values to be taught to the city's 1 million schoolchildren. The ruling establishment tried to impose the multicultural, pro-gay "Children of the Rainbow" curriculum on all schools. A backlash erupted, leading to the removal of the city's school superintendent. Emboldened by popular opposition to the Rainbow Curriculum, the Catholic Church teamed up with Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition to try to take over the city's 32 community school boards.
The cultural elite fought back, pulling together a coalition including the United Federation of Teachers, key supporters of liberal Mayor David Dinkins, People for the American Way, and gay activists. The two groups fought bitterly for the right to impose their own moral and cultural values on New York's million schoolchildren. In the end, it was a draw, and schoolchildren continued to be pawns in a political struggle.
Back when we all still believed in the New Economy and the second coming of 2Pac, Michael Lynch took a look at the way D.C. parents were opting out of the school monopoly.