Re: The Washington Post "Dissing Darwian"

From: Keith Miller <>
Date: Fri Jun 03 2005 - 16:26:19 EDT

> Perhaps a more pluralistic view of public education is in order. One
> model is that there could be government funding of all sorts of
> schools--Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Islamic, New Age, Secular and
> that these identities would be clearly defined so that parents could
> choose the school that most fit with their personal worldviews.

I think that this is decidedly not what this country needs. We are
already a country increasingly divided and polarized by race, wealth,
religion and politics. All this will do is further isolate and
compartmentalize our culture. It also would, I believe, threaten to
leave the poor and minorities concentrated and segregated into their
own schools. This is already happening with the decay of city centers
and the flight to suburbia. It is these needy districts that need the
most resources and financial help. Moving public dollars to private
institutions would leave poor districts even poorer because they would
not have the resources to augment whatever public monies come their
way. I don't see how this could avoid deepening the division between
rich and poor in this country.

Children would also receive very different qualities of education. If
universal education standards were instituted across all school
options, then you would be back to some of the same arguments over
academic standards and assessments that we currently have.

The greatest value of public education is that it is public. It forces
the interaction of people with different worldviews, different
cultures, different languages, races, etc. That is why we so value the
public schools here in Manhattan, Kansas. Ian's classmates represent a
wide range of nationalities and cultures, there are kids who are
professors children, and kids from low income families. I want Ian to
experience that diversity -- to learn to know and be friends with kids
very different from him. I am very concerned about our American
culture that has become more intolerant, more selfish, and more
nationalistic. The only way to live transforming lives in our world is
to live in it -- not hide among those who look like and think like us.
Public education does that -- or at least has the capacity to do that.


Keith B. Miller
Research Assistant Professor
Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
Received on Fri Jun 3 16:33:08 2005

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