Public Education

Over the years I have come across more authoritarian options to make the public schools better than I was aware of last time around: longer school hours, year around schools, uniforms, advanced degrees for school teachers, etc. As such, I think it wise to narrow the Education question to just primary education. Leave college out or to another question.

And yes, the old question was extremely biased. Need to work on that.

Anyway, here is a more comprehensive question with less bias:


Public education is a key component to a successful democracy, or an example of democratic socialism — depending on whom you ask. Regardless, pundits all over the political spectrum claim that U.S. public schools are worse than they should be. They point to better test scores by students all over the world to back their assertions.

Should our system of public education be significantly reformed?

  • Yes, we need more class time. Extend school hours to match standard work hours.
  • Yes, we need more class time. Extend the school year and get rid of the long summer break when the kids forget what they have learned.
  • Yes, we need better trained teachers. Require graduate degrees to teach and pay teachers accordingly.
  • Yes, we need more discipline. Require school uniforms.
  • Yes, divide the school population between academics and vocational ed students via tests like they do in much of Europe.
  • Any 2 of the above reforms.
  • Any 3 of the above reforms.
  • Any 4 of the above reforms.
  • All of the above reforms.
  • No, our system has its problems, but it fosters creativity and universal citizenship.
  • Yes, the schools need competition to keep administrations on the bounce. We need more charter schools and other forms of public school choice.
  • Yes, we need more competition. Grant school vouchers for students who go to private school (at a fraction of the marginal cost of public school).
  • Yes, charge partial tuition for public schools and grant scholarships for poor students. (This gets around the religious freedom problem that vouchers present.)
  • Yes. Sell off the public schools and grant school vouchers for all children.
  • Yes. Sell off the public schools and completely separate school from state. Let charities figure out how to educate the poor.

This is a lot of options, but this is a big question. And since the Quiz is now online only, no need to be as short as it used to be. What think ye?

3 Replies to “Public Education”

  1. I’m a little confused by the third to last option. Is it supposed to be more libertarian than the voucher option?

    And what exactly do you mean by “religious freedom” problem?

    1. If you have vouchers going to a religious school, liberals will whine that it is government money going to a church.

      Charging tuition for state schools and granting financial aid to the needy is what we do at the college level. The result is a mix of state, private and religious schools. And it continues to pass constitutional muster.

      It isn’t libertarian paradise. The government does meddle. But whereas our public schools are the scorn of the developed world, our colleges are competitive, and our grad schools excellent.

  2. Free Schools/Free University and Unschooling have been omitted. (IMHO they’re ideologically similar enough to be lumped into one answer along with proponents of Escuela Moderna and similar.) As an anarchist, inclined to comfort the afflicted and oppose capitalism, option N is horrifying to me, as the current organization of civil society would leave kids at the mercy of exploiters from the financial, corporate and clergical sectors. I picked “C” as the closest to what I support, as I would probably vote for it if the list of options presented were available on a ballot.

    Perhaps this question could actually be “Education Spending” while another one deals with the content of education: for example, should minority populations be allowed/encouraged to develop curricula which represent their own history as attempted in Tucson, or should schools be uniformly pressed to teach Greco-Roman history, literature and values? Should schools be primarily a place of discipline, job training or pure learning? Should teachers grade students or vice versa?

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