Friday, October 03, 2003

A Not So Modest Proposal – Abolish Compulsory Education

With alarming frequency we are bombarded with news that American school children score well below those of other industrial nations, some estimates state that nearly 70% of African-American males between 16-24 are functionally illiterate, and municipalities around the country are scavenging to make ends meet – and more often than not, failing miserably. How many more tear-stained featured articles in the Sunday lifestyle section do we need to read (those of us that still can) about some do-gooder elementary school teacher reaching into her own pocket to buy school supplies?

Frankly, I don't think the little buggers really want to be educated. Nor do their parents. Why take time out from video games and watching Maury Povich conduct paternity tests for his teenage guests to worry about something as mundane as reading a book or learning the multiplication tables? So, why not give them their wish?

The political Right and their religious allies have never been particularly enamored of universal education. It is just too risky. Besides, public education in their eyes has grown increasingly anti-family, anti-God, and unpatriotic in the past few decades. After all, these are the people who don't want pictures of dinosaurs in textbooks for fear that it might imply that old bugaboo "evolution". They really needn't worry; Johnny couldn't spell "evolution" on a bet, much less understand what it means.

Of course, the political Left is no better. In their quest to create a multicultural utopia they have undermined any standards that might allow children to acquire critical and analytical skills. After all, those standards are nothing more that elitist constructs. Read Shakespeare? Why that's sooooo Eurocentric! Of course, they can criticize one thing and one thing only; those pesky dead white European males. Sensitivity is the order of the day – "thinking" is right out.

We are at a critical point in our history. So why are we continuing to throw millions of dollars down the educational rat hole? Probably some misguided sense of nostalgia. Well, boys and girls, nostalgia don't pay the bills.

Every situation presents an opportunity if we look hard enough. The Bush administration just might be the answer to our dilemma.

The current wars and economy are driving the deficit to record levels. Why not rid the nation of that boat anchor no one really wants anyway – education. And while were at it, lets repeal all those anachronistic child labor laws. Hey, since the kids are going to find themselves with time on their hands, they may as well start contributing to the household.


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