Author Archives: Jeffrey

Lack of Funding Is Not What Ails American Schools

Money matters, but not if it’s simply tossed into a dysfunctional district.

Last month, researchers from Johns Hopkins University published a heartbreaking study describing the conditions of public schools in Providence, R.I. The report contained a laundry list of problems that plague America’s public schools, such as the inability to fire bad teachers and discipline unruly students, and the need for massive reams of bureaucratic paperwork to get anything done at all.

Here’s what wasn’t a problem: lack of funding. Providence spends $17,192 per pupil every year. Continue reading

Where’s the ‘Public’ in ‘Public Education’?

What is “public” about “public education”? The only role the public plays in it is to get stuck with the tab.

In many school districts, “teachers” earn much higher salaries than the taxpayers who pay the school tax—to say nothing of fabulous pensions which the rest of us can only fantasize about. Oh, we get to elect the school board members; but they don’t represent us. They’re only there to carry out the state’s dictates.

The “pro-choice” leftists who own public education do nothing for us but take away our choices. We don’t have a say in what is taught, or who teaches it. All those choices are made for us by government. Continue reading

The false argument about the “Act of 1871

For several years now, certain groups and websites like Worldnewsstand have advocated an argument that the “federal” government was created as a municipal corporation via an act of February 21, 1871. The truth is otherwise.

There is a history regarding the formation of Washington, D.C. The Constitution specifically provides for the formation of a district, 10 miles square, to be the seat of the federal government; see Art. 1, § 8, cl. 17. When the Constitution was ratified, the defacto seat of that government was in Philadelphia. The Residence Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 130, July 16, 1790), started the process of establishing the District of Columbia; in the interim, the government continued to meet in Philadelphia. On December 19, 1791, Maryland adopted “An Act concerning the territory of Columbia, and the City of Washington,” which ceded lands and jurisdiction for the Maryland part of the District. Continue reading

Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All

Six months ago we shared a a frightening observation from Patrick Deneen, a political science professor at Notre Dame who has also taught at Princeton and Georgetown. He described his students as “know-nothings… devoid of any substantial knowledge.”

More recently, a respected author and English professor at Providence College in Rhode Island has echoed Deneen’s concerns. Continue reading

Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

…let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling. Continue reading

5 Causes of the Civil War (Besides Slavery)

With talk of secession heating up, a look back on the causes of America’s (first?) Civil War.

As I type, the secession movement in California is picking up steam. Polling shows that one in three Californians support leaving the Union following Donald Trump’s victorious presidential campaign, and an organization–YesCalifornia.org–is circulating a petition calling for a special election that would allow Californians to vote for or against independence.

The movement is unlikely to succeed, at least for now. Still, the secession question would seem to present an opportunity to look back on causes and conditions that led to America’s Civil War.

Obviously, it’s difficult to separate slavery from any discussion on the Civil War. The peculiar institution hovers over the conflict specter-like. Indeed, it’s an apparition that still haunts modern American politics. But to say that slavery was the sole cause of the Civil War overlooks other stark differences that divided the North and South in the lead-up to it. Historians have speculated that even had the slavery question been resolved peacefully, war or secession still might have occurred during the westward expansion. Continue reading

Questioning the Back-To-School Default

Schooling is the default. It’s time to challenge defaults.

Back-to-school time is upon us. My Instagram feed is starting to fill with first-day photos as a new school year begins this week in some parts of the country. For those of us who homeschool, we often get asked, “So, why did you decide to homeschool?” We respond with various personal and educational reasons, including the top motivator for homeschoolers on national surveys: “concern about the school environment.” What always strikes me, though, is that parents who send their kids to school never get asked this question. When was the last time someone asked a parent, “So, why did you decide to send your child to school?” Continue reading

ADHD a Fraud? Harvard Now Thinks So Too

REMEMBER that the public school system gets paid a lot of money for each child diagnosed by a school counselor as ADD or ADHD. ~ Ed.

Renowned Harvard Psychologist Jerome Kagan Says ADHD is Largely a Fraud”, says the headline.

I’ve been saying this since 1996 or so. Glad that Harvard is finally on board.

What’s the problem with ADHD? It’s such a vague diagnostic category that it could apply to almost anybody – especially any child – at any given point in time. Continue reading

Freedom of conscience: a missing element in the education debate

In his Age of Reason pamphlet (1807), Thomas Paine declared that “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.“ Thomas Jefferson’s famed letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut mentions how the First Amendment effectively establishes a “wall of separation between church and state.” These men, plus the many others that influenced or participated in the founding of the United States, were very familiar with the dangers of state religions and wished to prevent establishing such a religion in America.

Underlying the First Amendment is the concept of freedom of conscience. It can be defined as: ”The right to follow one’s own beliefs in matters of religion and morality.“ Freedom of conscience is normally considered a human right, which is “any basic right or freedom to which all human beings are entitled and in whose exercise a government may not interfere (including rights to life and liberty as well as freedom of thought and expression and equality before the law).” Continue reading

Ross, Bastiat and The Law

Let’s Try Something A Little Bit Different

Frédéric Bastiat

I want to do something a little bit different this time around. Instead of me just rambling on, while inserting a quote here or there, this time I want to share with you some select passages from the classic book, The Law, by Frédéric Bastiat. It is my belief that if a majority of the people could learn, and apply, what I’m about to share with you we could easily fix what’s wrong in this country without the need for any kind of violent revolution or suffering; well, the only people who would suffer are those who use government to plunder the wealth and liberty of everyone else.

Bastiat wasn’t a Founding Father, nor was he an American, but that shouldn’t preclude you from having an open mind to what he has to say. Also, Bastiat wrote his book after the Colonies had obtained their independence and established our current system of government, so it should be read with that thought in mind. Continue reading

Don’t Go to College

I can’t pretend to have any insights into the experiences of successful black people, seeing as I’m neither. But I was struck by the video of Robert Smith’s commencement address at Morehouse College, where he announces that he’ll personally pay off every single graduate’s student loans. Unless you’re the personal recipient of Mr. Smith’s benevolence, the best part of that video has to be the chap in the very bottom-left corner of the screen – the one in the Tudor bonnet and horn-rimmed glasses – whose face lights up like an owl that’s just been awarded a lifetime supply of chocolate-dipped barn mice. Continue reading

What If America Didn’t Have Public Schools?

Imagining an entirely different educational system reveals some strengths—and flaws—of the current one.

On a crisp fall morning, parents lined the school’s circular driveway in Audis, BMWs and Land Rovers, among other luxury SUVs, to drop their high-schoolers off at Detroit Country Day School. Dressed in uniforms—boys in button-down shirts, blazers with the school crest, khaki or navy dress pants, and ties; girls in largely the same garb, though without the ties and the option of wearing a skirt—the students entered a lobby adorned with green tiles from the nearby Pewabic Pottery, a legendary Detroit ceramic studio. Continue reading

The Education Bus and Community Organizers

Cultural Marxism is winning and destroying our own culture by leaps and bounds thanks in no small part to the education system which is now run by cultural Marxists

Conservatives used to believe in the true liberation of people from the enslavement by big and encroaching governments. You could hardly tell that today judging by the huge national debt they’ve escalated under a Republican president and a Republican Senate. They have been as profligate spenders as the Democrats, yet we still don’t have a wall to stop the invasion of illegals through the southern border. Continue reading

Thousands of families want out of D.C. public schools

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, facing its biennial reauthorization, needs some serious improvements to add more qualified students, says an education researcher.

Jude Schwalbach of The Heritage Foundation says there’s a waiting list of nearly 12,000 students wanting to escape poor-performing and dangerous D.C. public schools. So the current budget needs to increase by $7 million to meet the need. Continue reading

What If Public Schools Were Abolished?

Out of the Past – But what has changed???

In American culture, public schools are praised in public and criticized in private, which is roughly the opposite of how we tend to treat large-scale enterprises like Walmart. In public, everyone says that Walmart is awful, filled with shoddy foreign products and exploiting workers. But in private, we buy the well-priced, quality goods, and long lines of people hope to be hired. Continue reading