Thinking about Public Education

June 12, 2008

There are those governmental tasks which even the most staunch libertarian would agree are essential for our government to function. Almost all people agree that our nation requires highways and military protection and a police force to be provided by the government at some level. I am writing this post to state that education is to be counted among those basic, essential services which our government must provide, and provide well. In other words, strong public education is not just a nice thing or a good thing, but something which is absolutely essential to our nation's success.

Our nation is, while not a democracy, at least a nation in which the entire populace plays some role in determining the course of the nation. In other words, we are sufficiently democratic that we at least decide many important questions through transnational consensus. And thus our national rudder is at least in some part swayed by the overall decision-making capacity of the populace.

In other words, were our nation to become, as a whole, unable to make decisions well, then it would not be long before the entire nation began to go off course and to suffer. Were all of the decision-making confined to a single group or family as has often been the case historically, then we could be safe with only those few select people being given strong decision-making abilities. However, in our more egalitarian society, we are able to be thrown off course by the majority, should that majority be wrong in its decisions. And that is why a solid education is crucial to our success. We as a nation have been designed in such a way that an uneducated majority could easy lead us astray.

So, how is public education doing right now? Are our present public schools doing their jobs well? To answer this question, simply look at where our nation is, and look at the direction in which we are headed. Look a the leaders that we as a nation have been electing. Then you'll have your measure of the success of the public schools, more accurate than any federally-mandated examination.