School Choice

Viewpoint Diversity Will Get a Boost From School Choice

There’s no reason to fight over the content of your kids’ lessons when you can choose your own.

|

With Americans beset by multiple crises, there's at least a glimmer of hope that one problemthe collapse of public schools under the stress of the pandemicmay offer a partial solution to another: the deepening political polarization reflected in bitter fights over lesson content.

As families flee government institutions that seem incapable of offering education of any sort, let alone one on which all can agree, they leave behind squabbles over what students are taught in favor of educational approaches and curricula that better suit their preferences.

"The books have the same publisher," Dana Goldstein wrote just over a year ago in a piece for The New York Times examining textbooks in California and Texas. "They credit the same authors. But they are customized for students in different states, and their contents sometimes diverge in ways that reflect the nation's deepest partisan divides."

This was hardly the first time curriculum warstracked in detail by the Cato Institute's Public Schooling Battle Mapmade the headlines. Michigan officials fought for years over such details as whether students should be taught that the country is a "republic" or a "democracy" and which amendments in the Bill of Rights should be emphasized.

"First, conservatives complained about a draft of new social studies standards for Michigan classrooms," as Bridge, a local publication, summarized the debate in 2019. "Then, liberals complained about a rewrite of those standards that appeared to favor conservative views."

Nor has the effort to politically mold classroom lessons faded away in the past year. In recent months, the exiting Trump administration added to the drama with a crude proposal embodied in its 1776 Report to promote "patriotic education" as a rebuttal to a curriculum derived from The New York Times's deeply flawed 1619 project, which emphasizes the roles of slavery and racism to the exclusion of other factors in the country's history. The incoming Biden administration promptly reversed its predecessor's efforts.

"The 1776 Report is a political document, not a curriculum," Patrick Riccards concluded at the education-oriented The 74.

"The 1619 Project is a thesis in search of evidence, not the other way around," cautioned The New York Times's own Bret Stephens.

The reasons for the never-ending battles are obvious. "Classroom materials are not only shaded by politics, but are also helping to shape a generation of future voters," Goldstein wrote in her piece last January. That is, politicians and activists hope to mold the country of the future by propagandizing the students of the present.

There's no reason whatsoever to expect these battles to become less intense in the future. Americans are deeply divided over politics, values, and the perils they see in each other.

As of 2019, "55% of Republicans say Democrats are 'more immoral' when compared with other Americans; 47% of Democrats say the same about Republicans," according to Pew Research.

"Most Americans (54%) now think that the biggest threat to their way of life comes from domestic enemies," CBS News/YouGov found just last week.

If Americans were uncomfortable with the ways their political foes spun school lessons in the past, imagine their feelings about having classrooms under the control of immoral enemies!

The saving grace is that a growing number of Americans are leaving curriculum battles behind. As government-run schoolsoften in the grip of intransigent teachers unions struggle to deliver education of any sort, families flock to alternatives of their own choosing. Seeking either in-person teaching or else competent implementations of remote learning, students flee public schools for independently managed charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling variations including learning pods and microschools.

Many of those students may return to public schools after the pandemic passes to avoid greater effort and expense. But other families are expected to stick with their new education choices, out of disappointment with the performance of traditional schools as well as comfort with the new experiences.

The pandemic could permanently boost homeschooling "partly because people who haven't really thought about it before suddenly saw themselves forced into [home schooling], and then realizing that it's something they can see themselves doing," Christopher Lubienski, a professor of education policy at Indiana University, told Education Week in November.

"COVID-19 is a catalyst for families who were already skeptical of the traditional school system—and are now thinking about leaving it for good," agreed Emma Green in a September article for The Atlantic.

As those families leave the public schools for options of their own choosing, they're not only selecting teaching approaches that work for their kids, they're also picking curricula or, at least, learning environments with which they're comfortable.

That's exactly what troubles supporters of the education establishment such as Harvard Law School's Elizabeth Bartholet. She favors a "presumptive ban" on homeschooling in part because families might teach their children "views and values counter to much of the education provided in public schools," as she infamously argued last year in the Arizona Law Review. Ironically, Bartholet's article appeared almost as The New York Times exposed the competing ideological biases in public school textbooks. And, within months, the public schools she champions buckled under the stress of dealing with the pandemic and families began looking for other education options.

Perhaps Bartholet's knee-jerk rejection of family-chosen education would have been softened by more exposure to those alternatives. "Greater exposure to private schooling instead of traditional public schooling is not associated with any more or less political tolerance, and greater exposure to homeschooling is associated with more political tolerance," according to research published in 2014 by the Journal of School Choice.

What a salve more tolerance could prove to be for a country divided into hostile tribes who view each other as immoral enemies. And what a lot of time and energy can be diverted from ideological wars to education when families choose their children's lessons instead of fighting with each other over the content.

In the end, school choice may prove to be a path not only to better education but also to greater diversity of viewpoints and, perhaps, a little less conflict between people who think differently.

NEXT: Brickbat: Malevolent Monarchy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. STAY AT HOME & WORK AT HOME FOR USA ►Check it out, and start earning yourself . for more info visit any tab this site Thanks a lot Here… Click here.

    1. NICE HERE APPLY Online job from home and make many dollars USA online job details………used this site………USA TOP JOB.

      1. I get paid 95 $ each hour for work at home on my PC. I never thought I’d have the option to do it however ABC my old buddy is gaining 65k$/month to month by carrying out this responsibility and she gave me how.

        Give it a shot on following website……..READ MORE

      2. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month.QScf Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular ABG office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
        on this page……Visit……….Home Profit System

    2. There’s no reason to fight over the content of your kids’ lessons when you can choose your own. Americans beset by multiple crises, there’s at least a glimmer of hope that one problem—the collapse of public schools under the stress of the pandemic—may offer a partial solution to another: the deepening political polarization reflected in bitter fights over lesson content………………MORE DETAIL.

      1. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
        on this page……..MORE READ

    3. Americans beset by multiple crises, there’s at least a glimmer of hope that one problem—the collapse of public schools under the stress of the pandemic—may offer a partial solution to another: the deepening political polarization reflected in bitter fights over lesson content………………MORE DETAIL.

    4. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take gd a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

      Here’s what I do…….. Visit……….. Visit Here

  2. Real online home based work to make more than $14k. Last month i have made $15738 from this home job. Very simple and easy to do and earnings from this are just awesome for details. For more detail visit the given link………..INFORMATION USA HOME JOB.

  3. “Perhaps Bartholet’s knee-jerk rejection of family-chosen education would have been softened by more exposure to those alternatives.”

    Don’t fool yourself – Bartholet isn’t changing her mind, and she isn’t going away – especially now that she a sympathetic government in Washington, DC.

    1. she *has* a sympathetic government

      1. Or maybe *is*?

  4. If it weren’t for politicians wanting to be able to give their own children a private good quality education. Private schools would have been banned long ago, because the temptation to have complete control of the next generation for 9 hours a day is too great.

  5. Viewpoint Diversity Will Get a Boost From School Choice

    Not if your buddies have anything to say about it. And thanks to the perfect election*, they do.

    1. *the veracity of the perfect election is disputed.

        1. Traitor? I thought it was coined domestic terrorism by the lunatics in D.C… Which it turns out DID make the call to shut down President Trump. It was Democratic Politicians practicing UN-Constitutional *POWER* to censor free speech.

          “CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday, amid **Democratic calls** for social media companies to expel him permanently”
          “The company also threatened to throw him off the platform entirely, a major reversal as it has repeatedly held off **previous calls** to do so while Trump is in the Oval Office.”

          “The panel’s Democratic chair, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), had called Wednesday for the tech companies to “remove” Trump”

          “YouTube removed that video for violating its policies against content alleging rampant voter fraud in the 2020 elections. Anybody posting a new video … about widespread voter fraud will receive a “strike” restricting their ability to upload or stream. Three strikes within 90 days will mean permanent removal of the channel.”
          ^^ Notice; How it was ALL about CANCELLING any questioning of the 2020 elections.
          Cancel Culture Justice to authenticate EVERY election for the Win!! /s

          “The companies’ actions this week still don’t address the deeper problem, incoming **Senate Intelligence** Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a statement, pointing to years of concerns about online platforms’ role as … far-right wing extremists.”

          “”While I’m pleased to see social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube take long-belated steps to address the President’s sustained misuse of their platforms to sow discord and violence, these isolated actions are both too late and not nearly enough,” Warner said.”

          https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/07/zuckerburg-says-trump-will-be-blocked-from-facebook-and-instagram-455805

  6. You can find fine looking transgirls if you visit transgirls

    1. Real online home based work to make more than $14k. Last month i have made $15738 from this home job. Very simple and easy to do and earnings from this are just awesome for details.AQWzxd For more detail visit the given link……….Visit……….Home Profit System

  7. As those families leave the public schools for options of their own choosing, they’re not only selecting teaching approaches that work for their kids, they’re also picking curricula or, at least, learning environments with which they’re comfortable.

    That’s exactly what troubles supporters of the education establishment such as Harvard Law School’s Elizabeth Bartholet.

    I wonder who Elizabeth Bartholet supported in the last election. Do you suppose she’s a fervid Trump supporter? Of course not – there’s only one side that favors coerced collectivism over individual choice. There’s only one side that insists its critics are not only wrong but they are evil and must be silenced. There’s only one side who preaches unity and means “anybody who doesn’t agree with us will be destroyed”. There’s only one side so convinced of their own self-righteousness that they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their ends. And those sorts of True Believers, those religious zealots and crusaders, are scary people.

  8. “Viewpoint Diversity Will Get a Boost”

    lololololololololololololol

  9. School choice is great. If there is something that every flavor of libertarian can get behind, it has to be this. The government quasi-monopoly on education is not only coercive but it produces substandard results. There are a lot of upsides to widespread school choice.

    However, there are a few downsides. One downside is that if there is widespread adoption of school choice, there is a danger that there will be some parents who will choose schools for their kids that consist of nothing but Bible stories, or nothing but math and science classes, or nothing but art and music classes. So there do have to be a few guardrails so that students do obtain a well-rounded education in a broad sense, so that they can be knowledgeable participants in our democratic institutions. But that can be accomplished easily and effectively without actual government ownership of the means of education.

    I am actually hopeful that the COVID pandemic will lead to some transformation in the educational landscape.

    1. Why specific “guardrails”? Guarding against what?
      Nothing but art and music classes would be fine for a musician.
      Nothing but math and science would be fine for an engineer.
      Nothing but Bible stories would be fine for a cleric.
      Rather than government dictates, let the employers determine if the education is compatible with the job requirements.
      (or course, that would require HR to actually have knowledge of the business, instead of checking a bunch of mandated boxes on the government diversity forms)
      Kids will always learn general knowledge by living around other humans.

      1. Because the artist and the engineer and the cleric also vote. Do you want voters voting in elections who have never studied history and have no idea what the Federalist Papers are?

        Kids will always learn general knowledge by living around other humans.

        No, they will pick up stories and anecdotes that will reflect their biases.

        1. “Do you want voters voting in elections who have never studied history and have no idea what the Federalist Papers are?”

          Well, that ship has sailed right off the edge of the Earth.

        2. Do you believe that every voter (or even most voters) have more than a general knowledge of history? And most voters these days probably only know about the Federalist Papers because they name drop them in Hamilton.

          1. Okay? I’m not arguing that the status quo is doing a great job. Quite the opposite.

        3. If you’re about low information voters making stupid choices in elections, that horse left the barn a long time ago.

          1. If you’re *worried* about low information voters…

        4. And that’s what happens now. I think most parents want their children to have a well rounded education. If a few want to take another route, that’s their choice. I think it’s silly to worry about the rare edge cases. There is room in the world for different kinds of people. And parents need to be given a lot of benefit of the doubt and leeway in how they raise their children. Parental autonomy is more important than making sure a few kids don’t get a weird education.

        5. so now you’re proposing that voters pass a history quiz? Because the Supreme Court threw out voter qualification testing a long time ago.

    2. “there is a danger that there will be some parents who will choose schools for their kids that consist of nothing but Bible stories, or nothing but math and science classes, or nothing but art and music classes”

      Why is this a danger? Even now, there are kids who effectively only get an education in a few narrow areas of curricula (or none at all). For the most part, they are able to function in society. Why should the state trump parents in deciding what qualifies as a good education for children?

      1. Just to clarify, I think that if parents want to decide for their children that their kids’ education should be overwhelmingly focused on theology, or engineering, or music, or whatever, that is totally fine. It shouldn’t be *exclusively* on those things though, because everyone will have to do things other than theology or engineering or music in their lives. Everyone votes, everyone has to manage a household budget, everyone has to do some basic tasks like simple first aid.

        1. I agree with you, that a well-rounded education has incredible value, both intrinsically and practically. Where we differ is in who we think should make that value judgment. When you say “guardrails”, I assume you mean state mandates. At that point, we are discussing what degree of statism is acceptable in parents’ role of ensuring the education of their children.

          “Everyone votes, everyone has to manage a household budget, everyone has to do some basic tasks like simple first aid.”

          So are you suggesting state-mandated civics, economics, and health curricula? I don’t know about you, but I learned the ins-and-outs of those subjects almost entirely outside the confines of formal education.

          1. *subjects = voting, budgeting, and first aid. Should have said ‘tasks’ instead of ‘subjects’.

    3. I sort of agree with you, but as a chemist I have found that most of the liberal arts can be self taught. I never had classes on philosophy but can discuss differences between Kant and Schopenhauer. History books are easy to find and easy to read, as are novels. Clubs teaching painting and sculpture are all around, even in the deep woods where I live.
      Learning piano at home is even possible these days, but I grant that violin needs an instructor.
      I know a lot of parents in the “bible and guns” category Obama identified, and they are all focused on math and science as well as the bible, because they want their kids to get a good job.

      1. I would argue that the one really important area of education that must be taught is reading/writing. From that, everything else can follow.

        Arithmetic is important, too, as a building block. But even that can be learned through real-world experience (kind of hard to learn how to read on the job).

        All that said, as a parent, I ensure that my kids have a thorough, well-rounded education.

      2. Liberal arts can be self taught, true. As a liberal arts major (literature) did most of my reading of the classics outside of university. However, what the university did provide was learning Latin, broadening my sights to other literature, and more importantly, cluing me in how to look at literature. (Sad that all of this used to be standard curriculum in high schools). But the main thing is that few people will discover the depths of the liberal arts without a foundation resting on a college education. Thus I continue to advocate STEM minors for liberal arts majors, and liberal arts minors for STEM majors. Gosh.

        Second, most science and engineering can be self taught as well, provided one has the mathematics and formalism for it. (Just like one needs the basic reading and comprehension skills for liberal arts). I’m a senior software engineer despite my literature major. I have a colleague with same title who was an art major. I also have a friend who has PhD in theoretical physics who is now an elementary school teacher by choice. It can all be self taught with the right foundations. Even your beloved chemistry.

        Yeah, some professions need certifications before practice, which some degrees confer, but they don’t require formal education to learn.

    4. The guardrails are the state requirements to earn a diploma and college entrance requirements/prereqs.

    5. I think every student should learn first aid, CPR, and how to handle a gun.
      That is in addition to reading, writing, history and arithmetic.
      A little civics and a foreign language along with geography would be nice.
      Budgeting, check writing, cooking and simple tool use would be useful life skills.
      Reading the Bible would improve the average person and make them familiar with the seminal book of Western Civilization.
      This is already a lot and leaves no room for 1619 and diversity training.

    6. The greatest improvement in school choice (and education quality) would come from getting the government out of it. Make parents pay — they will be more involved. Let entrepreneurs compete to provide the highest quality and most cost effective educational alternatives.

      What about educating the children of parents who can’t afford a first rate education? So many people are worried about this, there should be no problem in providing private scholarships to anyone in need.

  10. nesI’am made $84, 8254 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online busis opportunity I heard about and I’AM made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do,.for more information simply open this link thank you….. USA ONLINE JOBS

  11. I am not clear of the distinction between fighting over the curriculum, and fighting over school choice.
    Either way, we must fight fascism.

    We;come to the revolution.

  12. I make up to $90 an hour on-line from my home. my story is that i give up operating at walmart to paintings on-line and with a bit strive i with out problem supply in spherical $40h to $86h… someone turned into top to me by way of manner of sharing this hyperlink with me, so now i’m hoping i ought to help a person else accessible through sharing this hyperlink… Read More

  13. Which is why the usual suspects will fight it tooth and nail. ‘Viewpoint diversity’ is the last thing your new Masters want, Reason.

    1. ^EXACTLY!!! ‘Viewpoint diversity’ is the last thing your new Masters want

  14. This article highlights the need — and, in my view, the inevitability — for a national divorce. Nothing binds Americans to one another. Not anymore. I see no reason why people that despise each other and disagree about the fundamental values of existence need to be forced to live together.

    1. You may not see the reason, but the fascists do.

      1. ^YES… Exactly; Conquer and Consume isn’t a ‘go your own way’ mentality… Democrats have had the ability to implement their curs-id legislation at the City, County or State levels ALWAYS.. It’s not about ‘fundamental values’ of like-minded living together. It’s about FORCING as many people as they can to supply what they want…

        Just as the Democratic Party fought a war to keep slavery they most certainly will fight a war if succession of the *LEAVE ME ALONE* states were to exit their authoritarian will.

  15. Viewpoint Diversity Will Get a Boost From School Choice

    Which is the real reason why the teacher’s unions and the rest of the education and political establishment hate it so much. They’ve spent decades turning the education system into an indoctrination system meant to produce good little lemmings who will believe everything they’re told and OBEY without thinking, and be good little brain dead worker bees. They can’t have that system be disrupted by letting some of their future lemmings escape. The ones that do might start thinking for themselves, and there’s nothing more dangerous to them than free thinkers.

  16. But, isn’t viewpoint diversity a sign of fascism? True American anti-fascists spend a lot of energy trying to stomp it out.

    1. There are more than two tribes out there, no matter how large they may seem. The Mainstream Progressive may decry viewpoint diversity, and the mainstream Conservative may rally for conforming kulturwar, but stop listening to those poo flinging monkeys and beware of painting with too wide of a brush.

      The viewpoint diversity shit is mostly limited to elite university campuses and the governments. Most people are perfectly fine with diversity, they just object to the extremes of hate laden rants calling for riots and insurrection.

  17. Diversity and one-size-fits-all government programs go together like oil and water. They don’t. Not even with egg whites to make mayonaise. Diversity is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all government program.

    Find an actual (akshul) liberal, one that isn’t worshipping unions, and you might find someone in favor of real school choice. Many akshul Lefties too. This new Wokism is an aberration. The history of private schools is one linked with liberalism, and predates the religious right by a century (it was the religious who STARTED tax funded schools, in an effort to eliminate the incoming diversity from eebil papists).

  18. Why would a large wooden ship benefit from school choice?

  19. What’s the debate about being a republic or a democracy? A debate on if lies, deceit and propaganda should be taught? Like glass-ball global conspiracy theorists termed “climate change scientists”?

    Article IV; Section 4 –
    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.

  20. There’s no reason to fight over the content of your kids’ lessons when you can choose your own.

    As long as 2+2=5 is taught in all classrooms.

    1. Lol, choice. That’s only for gender and abortions.

  21. Mr. Tuccille misses the point of public education. The goal is viewpoint uniformity, not viewpoint diversity.

  22. I quit working at shoprite to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $45 to 85 per/h. Without a doubt, this is the easiest and most financially rewarding job I’ve ever had.HBo I actually started 6 months ago and this has totally changed my life.

    for more details visit…… Go to this link

Please to post comments