So, we can put men on the moon, invade and run other countries, and create an economy that dominates the world….but we can’t educate our own children? Says who?

Apparently, Jonah Goldberg in his June 12th editorial in the LA Times, “Do Away With Public Schools.”  Goldberg argues: “Really, what would be so terrible about government mandating that every kid has to go to school, and providing subsidies and oversight when necessary, but then getting out of the way?”

I can think of a couple of things: the main one being giving up on what should be one of our highest priorities as a nation because we don’t have the moral or political will to get it right.

Neither past nor present failings (some of which, by the way are greatly exaggerated) of public education are sufficient cause to throw up our hands as a nation and leave education at the mercy of the market economy. Even with subsidies from the government (where have we heard this before), there would be greater chance of more children not getting an education at all.

When Hurricane Katrina approached the Gulf Coast, the government (and many others) assumed it didn’t have to make means available to evacuate large numbers of people because if folks wanted to leave, they could. Not until we saw bodies floating, people on top of buildings, elderly and disabled trapped in nursing homes, or whole families in rental houses did those who could have prevented much of the horror realize their mistake. The majority of poor, uninsured people in this country have jobs. To what type of schools could they afford to send their children?  Nevermind that there are precious few privately run schools that accept or are equipped to work with children who are handicapped or have special needs.

President Bush says to pull our troops out of Iraq would be a signal of weakness to our enemies. Closing our public schools would be an admission of a much greater moral failing. America is more than capable of providing quality education to every one of our children. It’s a matter of the heart.

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