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IPFS News Link • Education: Government Schools

The Statist War Over Public-School Books

•, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Their mindsets are so mired in statism that they cannot see there is no possible way to resolve their war in a way that will make everyone happy.

What they fail to realize is that their basic paradigm for education — that the state should be educating children — is the real problem. As long as the state is in charge of education, there will always be fierce political battles over which textbooks will be used, which books should be in the library, and what should be taught in the classroom.

Moreover, the majority will rule. It might be a majority of school board members at the local level making the decisions. Or it might be a majority in the state legislature. Or a majority at the state board of education. All of these people, of course, are either elected or appointed through the political process.

Whichever side is in the majority, they will be happy that their book selections have prevailed. Whoever is in the minority will be unhappy and will cry censorship. The political battles will continue, with each side fighting hard to get their people elected or appointed to public office.

Religious liberty

Thank goodness for the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Those two amendments prohibit the states from involving themselves in religious affairs. 

Imagine if we didn't have those two express prohibitions. We would be experiencing the same types of fierce political wars in religion that we are experiencing in education. There would be battles over what religious books to promote or display in churches. There would also be fights over which version of the Bible to use. People would be battling over which religious doctrines to adopt. There would be forever wars over the format for Sunday services. There would be compulsory church attendance laws for children, as well as church buses to transport them to church. There would undoubtedly be battles over whether to adopt a system of church vouchers or charter churches.