In Our Schools

A good friend forwards me a link to this press release. It is but one of many Focus on the Famiy type missives littering the net, my inbox, my mailbox, and my television screen.

The press release posits a diametrical opposition between Evangelicals and gays, but also takes as given that which is to be proven by argument–that one, or the other, is entitled to the minds of the nation’s schoolchildren.

Among the various reasons traditionally given for universal, “free,” public education is the idea that primary schools are little factories that produce good voting, tax-paying citizens with the ability to listen to an argument, write a letter to the editor and tell the good guys from the bad. This citizenship development mandate is most troublesome, especially in our post pomo context, where people representing each individual shard of reality’s broken pane feel entitled to state their cases to audiences of captive, mussy-haired, groggy eight year olds. Some Evangelicals must control the terms of debate, or they will leave. Likewise, some gay activists will demand curricular inclusion, or they’ll sicc the ACLU. And the children, for whom so much evil is done, are caught between.

Neither citizen-building, hot gay action, nor the holy ghost are going away any time soon. Unfortunately, the intersections where these veins of thought cross are often chock full of grade-schoolers. Notwithstanding the press releasor’s suggestions that God-fearing parents bail on public-ed, one of the three have to give way. I’d hate for it to be citizen-building–but for that impetus to survive, or even be relevant, Americans will have to settle on a baseline of subjects pertinent to civil discourse.

There are dozens of madmen and madwomen about, talking ridiculous amounts of smack. And whether from reflexive respect for vaunted ideals, or politically-correct conditioning, they’re given more berth than they deserve. Until someone can act the grownup, it seems men with minds of children will continue attempting to colonize the brains of bona fide kiddos. Where is the progressive thinker who will claim inheritance of Murrow’s pigiron balls, and call a thing by its name?