Thursday, December 23, 2004

Great Debate!

Posted by Craig Westover | 10:55 AM |  

Check out the comments section of the post "Tell me again, who is part of the problem?" There's a great debate going there that illustrates the role reversal between the liberal and conservative perspectives when it comes to education.

Although the “fix the public schools” supporter labels him/herself a “conservative,” the point of view is the one supported by most liberals. In the case of education, liberals tend to support the status quo. On the other side, we have a conservative in favor of school choice -- willing to take the risks involved with change to fix a failing system.

That perspective is significant beyond the education debate.

For too long, conservatives have been the political entity without an agenda. At best, the conservative “agenda” was “not what the liberals want.” Conservatives considered any compromise a “victory” when the liberals didn’t get as much as they asked for. They never realized or acknowledged that every such compromise moved the country a little more to the left and toward the welfare state.

Now we are seeing conservatives actually putting forth a real agenda. School choice is one example, choice in social security and health care are others. Conservatives are becoming the “yes” force in society; liberals, the feet-dragging nay-sayers.

What’s even more exciting, is that with a little education to overcome preconceived prejudices, conservative responses to issues like the Achievement Gap, Social Security Reform, Health Care Reform can be shown to be better for the constituencies and more in keeping with traditional liberal philosophy than the stand-pat policies of today’s Democrat Party.

Conservative/Libertarian “choice” programs -- what President Bush refers to as the “Ownership Society” -- seek to empower the poor; Democrat party programs want to domesticate them, perpetuating them as wards of the government and breeding stock for their voting blocks.

Read the debate at this post in that context. It opens up a world of insight.

UPDATE: Same debate taking place at Minnesota Education Reform News. Check it out.

UPDATE: Check out this great post at SCSU Scholars that takes the distinction between "public education" and the delivery system for "public education" to the next logical, economic level. Also read the comments posted. Another great discussion underway.