By Christopher Chantrill
March 6, 2011
If you listen to your liberal friend, she will tell, perhaps, of a wonderful program at the local community college that is helping in the fight for literacy in adult women. Probably she heard about it on NPR.
It is a wonderful thing to have adult literacy programs. Only, of course, there's no way to tell if they do any good. And there is no way for you to opt out and say "no thanks, I'd prefer to contribute to Bill Gates's literacy programs instead."
Our liberal friends are also apt to roll the soft-focus shots when it comes to our kids. They are big on the celebration of the "common school," the euphemism for government child custodial facilities invented in the 19th century in the campaign to centralize local schooling under state government administration. Said Horace Mann, the father of the common school:
Let the Common School be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked with the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged.
Mann's timing was impeccable. His system went into effect just in time for the big crime wave of the 1840s.
In recent weeks, we've been experiencing the reality of all this feel-good effort to help the kids. Apparently the need to help the kids is nothing compared with the need for government teachers to unionize. You would think that, if the moral urgency of teaching kids is so great, that teachers would be glad to teach for almost nothing, as in fact the teachers in Catholic schools, the proverbial nuns memorialized in The Blues Brothers, really did.