“> Anyone who pays attention to the unfolding debate over the propriety and educational effects of public investments in preschool and child development has encountered fears of “government” brainwashing. Though not all such fears emanate from the dark imaginings of the far right, that crowd is certainly far more vocal. (Never forget that the seeds of dreaded liberalism tomorrow find fertile ground in the preschool sand tables of today!).Judge Roy Moore, (left, at a younger age), the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was ousted after refusing to remove stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments from his court room, demonstrated this once again in this Internet column.
The column is a mish-mash of references to studies and research that he misapplies and misinterprets for his purposes. In addition to the usual rhetoric, however, the good judge added a new leap of logic that I’ve never seen anywhere. The “founding fathers,” reared in 18th century colonial America, did not go to public schools and they did pretty well. Americans back then were the “most literate and well-informed in history,” he contends, and “poetry, religion, and history flourished…without support from the state.” I know that many critics of public education claim, without much foundation, that student achievement has been sliding the past three or four decades. But I had no idea that the zenith of U.S. education was in the 1750s! Sure, recreating slavery, ridding ourselves of 300 years of technology and medicine, and reclaiming our true heritage as colonies would be problematic, but is there any other way to be competitive in this global economy? Let’s turn back the clock three centuries before it’s too late!