Education

Ban Private Schools in the Name of the Collective Good?

Bans on private education have already been tried and rejected in the U.S.

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Earlier this week my colleague J.D. Tuccille commented on the work of two left-wing British political philosophers who believe that strict limits should be placed on the rights of parents in order to create "a more level playing field" for all children. For example, according to one of the philosophers, "private schooling cannot be justified…. It's just not the case that in order for a family to realise these intimate, loving, authoritative, affectionate, love-based relationships you need to be able to send your child to an elite private school."

Credit: Library of Congress

I wonder if these progressive British philosophers are aware that the idea of banning private education has already been tried and rejected here in the United States. Back in 1922, the Ku Klux Klan and other anti-Catholic groups spearheaded an Oregon initiative that resulted in the prohibition of all private schooling within that state. Known as the Compulsory Education Act, this law required all children between the ages of eight and 16 to attend "a public school for the period of time a public school shall be held during the current year." The Society of Sisters, a corporate entity organized in 1880 to provide for the care and education of orphans, challenged this prohibition in federal court, arguing that it violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, which forbids the states from depriving "any person [including corporate persons] of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

Unfortunately for both yesterday's Ku Klux Klan and today's progressive British political philosophers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Society of Sisters and struck down the private school ban. According to the majority opinion of Justice James McReynolds, "the child is not the mere creature of the state."

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  1. So instead of asking why kids at public schools aren’t doing as well as kids at private schools, and then fixing the public schools, they want to ban private schools and bring everyone down to the public school level

    makes sense

    1. As much sense as prohibiting families because some are better than others.

    2. Just like income inequality. They would rather everyone be equal at a lower level of wealth than have some who are richer — even though rich people do not adversely affect the less-than-rich. And I mean this literally, since I once asked a college friend if she’d rather see 100% equality than a rich minority. It boggles the mind.

      At what point does the view of education by these philosophers go from ignorance and/or willful stupidity to downright evil?

    3. They should nickname all sports teams from every school the “Bergerons”.

      Fuck it, why not let the mask all the way down?

      1. Sports teams? Sports only perpetuate the cis-hetero win/loss duality. It’s unfair. Competition will be banned for the greater good.

        1. What about track and field where there is a spectrum of “winners” and “losers”? Or do you not believe in second place?

          1. Track and field is acceptable, as long as everybody goes the same pace while singing songs about tolerance, and agreeing to participate in the curb-stomping of anyone who steps out of line.

            1. As long as the competition is followed by a parade of MRAPs and MATVs draped in the Maryland state flag, while the spectators all salute to the new national anthem (“What is love? Baby don’t hurt me.”) as it blasts from tinny loudspeakers, then I accept your proposal.

    4. Perhaps they’re realtors or landowners in areas with good state-run schools (confusing, the Brits use “public schools” for “run by the general public instead of the state,” in other words, what we call “private schools.”)

      Where there are no private schools, you have schools where the better schools’ tuition is included in your mortgage, and bundled with granite countertops.

  2. “the child is not the mere creature of the state.”

    We know better than that, now. That was a different time.

    1. Oh the times, they are a’changing.

      1. Time, time, time. See what’s become of me.

  3. Fuck these people.

    1. This is the correct sentiment. They are the enemies of liberty and should be treated as such.

  4. Unfortunately for both yesterday’s Ku Klux Klan and today’s progressive British political philosophers

    Nice touch.

  5. Back in 1922, the Ku Klux Klan and other anti-Catholic groups spearheaded an Oregon initiative that resulted in the prohibition of all private schooling within that state.

    I’ve been told for decades that the Klan was a creature whose sole domain was the south. It was a part of my public school education.

    1. The place also made me think of “So this is Oregon, huh? Tolerant Oregon.

      Which pretty much made the story worth it.

      1. Long Live the Oregon Spirit!

    2. For a long time into the 80’s at least the state with the largest concentration of klansmen was Connecticut

      1. Indiana was no slouch either.

  6. Test post

    1. i’m giving you a failing grade. When you figure out why, you’ll be able to pass the test.

  7. ” The Society of Sisters, a corporate entity organized in 1880 to provide for the care and education of orphans,”

    I’m all for private schools, but this is just strange. How much education do you need to swing a pick ax or polish a monocle?

    1. You think they teach proper picking and polishing practices in public schools?

      1. Look….if you have a pair of needle dick Harold Laski spectacles then by all means buy some ill trained waif….an inferior product of the public education system! If, on the other, hand you have an expansive pair of libertarian snow/diamond inspection goggles then you really must obtain an orphan who has been raised under the lash of a private institution!

      2. Better yet they teach how to follow orders and not think for yourself.

  8. You are being too kind when you refer to them as “philosophers” without at least some scare quotes. If you don’t like that, stylistically, you could call them evil sacks of moose shit instead.

    1. “Moose shit” is too awkward to say. You have to either run it together or emphasize the separation to an absurd degree. Just call them evil sacks of shit.

    2. “Moose shit” is too awkward to say. You have to either run it together or emphasize the separation to an absurd degree. Just call them evil sacks of shit.

      1. Also, comparing moose shit to such mendacious “philosophers” is an insult to moose.

      2. Seems appropriate given how absurd getting a degree in philosophy is.

        /bad pun

        1. What amazes me about philosophy is the vast difference between its usefulness when studied independently and its usefulness when pursued as a degree.

          1. In my experience, philosophy majors are indeed often among the least thoughtful people one can find. It’s like they’re not getting the degree to exercise their critical thinking, but rather as a substitute for having to exercise it. ‘I have the degree, see, so I don’t have to prove I’m smart. You do.’

  9. “the child is not the mere creature of the state.”

    How quaint.

  10. “the Ku Klux Klan and other anti-Catholic groups”

    Now, Damon, let’s not introduce religion into a discussion of liberty.

    1. “Well, if they’re anti CHRISTFAGS!!! BUSHPIGS!!!! then they’re OK with me.” – shriek

    2. “the Free Exercise thereof” was just a scrivener’s error. It’s why the Sisters had to argue substantive due process.

  11. Equality. A more odious arrangement of letters has never been crafted.

  12. What they do instead is make the private schools and home schools get oermssion for the curriculum. Parents have no right to be teaching the states children unnaoroved material.

  13. So, shall we make tall people equal to us short ones by cutting off their heads or their feet?

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