Monday, May 24, 2010

Bill White: Get Politics Out of Education

In response to the latest controversy over textbooks, gubernatorial candidate Bill White has called for politics to be removed from education:
Obviously, I would pick a chair who would try to undo some of the damage that is being done as quickly as we can. We should have standards which reflect the views of professional educators and historians and respect the integrity of that process rather than injecting political ideology in the classroom — regardless where that ideology came in the political spectrum.
Unfortunately, White's "plan" won't accomplish his alleged goal. Indeed, White advocates the continuation of political influence on education in Texas. Despite his claim to the contrary, White isn't opposed to mixing politics and education--he simply wants his guy in charge.

The very fact that the chairman of the State Board of Education is selected by the governor makes it a political position. The governor will select someone whose political ideology meshes with his own, and White is no exception. He admits as much when he states that he will pick someone who will "undo some of the damage" being caused by the current conservative chairman.

Further, White ignores the fact that no matter who is in charge, government is imposing one set of values--political and otherwise--upon all of the state's public school students. This alone guarantees that the state board will be a magnet for interest groups, each seeking to influence the board's decisions. No matter what decisions are made, someone will claim that politics is at play. And they will be right.

If White truly wants standards that are devoid of politics, then he should advocate for the privatization of the public schools. He should call for government to get out of the education business entirely, and allow the producers of educational services to determine the curriculum at their school, free from the controls and regulations of government officials. Such freedom would also allow the consumers of those services--parents and students--to choose those providers who best meet their own individual needs and desires.

Contrary to White's assertions, the solution to politics in education isn't changing the state's headmaster. The solution is to abolish public education.


Anonymous said...

I'm a recent reader of your blog and wish to congratulate you on the quality of your writing - I certainly have never seen your economic viewpoint (incl the other side of the health care debate) explained in such a fluent and engaging manner.

I will profess to being diametrically opposite from you in terms of political orientation (I'm very much slanted towards European-style social welfare) but I think it's the responsibility of everyone to attempt to appreciate "how the other side thinks" (so to speak) - this is provided by your blog in a very articulate manner.

Brian Phillips said...

Thank you for the comments. Perhaps if you keep reading, I'll change your mind.