Vouchering to Gomorrah

August 5, 2006

Libertarian-bent lawyer Tim Sandefur posts this note at Panda’s Thumb:

Neal McCulskey of the Cato Institute and Matthew Yglesias of The American Prospect have a debate going over whether school choice programs would help resolve the evolution/creationism controversy. Here’s McCulskey’s first post, Yglesias’ reply, and McCulskey’s rebuttal.

Vouchers. Parental choice is an issue across the curriculum, but it is especially poignant in sex education, biology, and history. In those three areas there are national movements to direct curricula, some of the movements in each area based on a great deal of misinformation and disinformation.

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U.S. history required – in college?

August 5, 2006

Third or fourth time is the charm, right?

In Arizona, where the legislature recently decreed a U.S. flag and a copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights will be displayed in all college classrooms, the debate now turns to whether the legislature should require the study of U.S. history by undergraduates. I appears the legislators do not find college kids have enough appreciation for our nation’s history.

I’ll reproduce the entire story out of the Arizona Republic below the fold (Dan Quayle’s family’s newspaper!).

Is it just me, or is it that these pseudo-patriots who don’t think our kids are well-enough indoctrinated always stamp the life out of history when they start these tirades? I have yet to find a law that mandates that history be interesting. Instead we get standards that provide great, boring, history-crushing, mind-and-butt-numbing lists. In short, these requirements tend to make history not worth the study.

And, as with those who celebrate Fillmore’s bringing the bathtub to the White House, the advocates almost always get history wrong. [Millard Fillmore himself, never attended college; he apprenticed first in the cloth business, and then in law.]

Barry Goldwater will be coming out of his grave to stop this silliness. Maybe literally. If such standards don’t make high school students history literate, what makes anyone think the failed methods would work on college students? If the standards do work to make high school kids knowledgeable in history, why would the college standards be necessary?

This controversy smells. It has the earmarks of being one more way to issue diatribes against “librul college professors.” It’s one more way of flogging public education, while refusing to give educators the tools to solve the problems.

Article below the fold; please comment. Read the rest of this entry »

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