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Letter: Jeremy Jackson doesn’t like public schools

Gleye writes, "If everybody made their own unfettered choice, as 'public choice theorists' like Jackson advocate, we wouldn’t actually have a society. We would all merely be ships passing in the night, destined to share the same geographical space with others with whom we have nothing in common, and likely holding some disdain toward those who think differently because we know nothing about them."

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Jeremy Jackson doesn’t like public education very much . It’s ironic, because he is a faculty member at a public university and writes authoritatively in The Forum under the imprimatur of his position as the head of a “center” at NDSU. He thinks taxpayers should subsidize homeschooling and charter schools even though the taxpayers would have no say in what those young students would learn.

Jackson wants parents to be able to “choose the educational model that matches their unique needs and perspectives.” Indeed, parents should be involved in their children’s education, but what does “unique perspectives” mean exactly? If you strongly believe some things about our country and want your children to learn them, but other parents believe opposite things about our country and want their children to learn only those things, who decides what they should learn? Jackson notes that charter schools are “not subject to many of the same regulations as traditional public schools,” which is actually part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Our society is already overwhelmed with confirmation bias, meaning that people look for ways to confirm what they already believe. We need for young people to learn about all perspectives so they can think for themselves. That’s why we have school boards elected from the community as a whole, to guide public schools. Their difficult job is to determine some reasonable community standards and pursue them, imperfect as those standards may be.

Charter schools may have a place in our society when they serve young persons with special needs that are beyond the abilities of public schools. But to laud charter schools in general because they “are held accountable to an authorizing agency” actually says nothing about what that agency may authorize.

Jackson tells us that “school choice policies can provide tax relief to families choosing private or homeschool education.” But tax dollars should not go to subsidize parents who want their children to know only what the parents want them to know. If everybody made their own unfettered choice, as “public choice theorists” like Jackson advocate, we wouldn’t actually have a society. We would all merely be ships passing in the night, destined to share the same geographical space with others with whom we have nothing in common, and likely holding some disdain toward those who think differently because we know nothing about them. Parents have plenty of opportunity outside of school to instill their beliefs in their own children. Public schools are one of the primary institutions that hold us together as a society. They need our support, not our disparagement.

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Paul H. Gleye lives in Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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