Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Educational Choice Fosters Political Tolerance

July 3, 2014 by JASON BEDRICK

As America prepares to celebrate its independence, many Americans are caught up in the political squabbles over several recent Supreme Court decisions. If the SCOTUS decisions and their fallout reveal anything, it’s that too many Americans are willing to use the government to coerce their fellow citizens into behaving a certain way. Such people lack the virtue of political tolerance, which Thomas Jefferson believed was the foundation of “social harmony… the first of human felicities.”

What sort of education system is most likely to foster that political tolerance?

People often assume that government-run “public” schools are the best inculcators of political tolerance. After all, Horace Mann’s vision of the “common school” involved bringing together students from ethnically and religiously diverse backgrounds and training them to be good citizens. By contrast, private schools are not required to take all students and many of them are religiously sectarian. Indeed, even President Obama made this claimwhen visiting Ireland in 2013:

If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs — if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear and resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.

Surely the common schools do a better job inculcating the value of political tolerance than the sectarian schools… right?

In reality, as my colleague Neal McCluskey has painstakingly demonstrated, government schools often force citizens into political conflict. Parents and educators clash over issues of pedagogy, curriculum, morality, sexuality, etc. Too often, deciding which policies a government school will adopt is a zero-sum game.

Moreover, the empirical evidence demonstrates that private schools (including religiously sectarian ones) do as well or better than government schools at inculcating political tolerance.

read full article: Educational Choice Fosters Political Tolerance

bias, bigotry, children, culture, diversity, education, government, ideology, intolerance, nanny state, philosophy, study, tolerance

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Filed under: bias, bigotry, children, culture, diversity, education, government, ideology, intolerance, nanny state, philosophy, study, tolerance

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