I read with great interest yesterday’s article by Arthur C. Brooks on the emerging “baby gap” between liberals and conservatives. If this doesn’t highlight the importance of education to both sides of the political and cultural divide, I don’t know what does. For a long time, liberals and conservatives have argued over who ultimately controls a child’s education — the parents or the state. With parents typically more conservative and the education bureaucracy more left than even the mainstream Democratic party, it is easy to why and where the battle lines are drawn.
After decades of litigation, the balance of power is increasingly clear: While parents who can afford to do so have a right to opt out of public schooling (through home schools or private schools), if the kids are in public schools they are essentially wards of the state and can be subjected to all kinds of state indoctrination without parental consent. Just check out cases where students were forced to sit through lewd sexual programs (Brown v. Hot, Sexy, and Safer Productions), take sexually explicit and suggestive surveys at a young age (Fields v. Palmdale School District), and even participate in Wiccan rituals (Brown vs. Woodland Joint Unified School District). For a nice summary of the rights of parents to control their kids’ education, read this.
It is difficult to overstate the extent of leftist ambitions in the education process. From the earliest ages (just look at the new push for universal preschool) to the last days of a graduate degree, the left zealously guards not just its legally privileged position as ultimate arbiter of the content of your child’s education but also its dominant numbers in the teachers’ unions (have you seen what they teach in schools of education these days?) and the university professoriate.
Why does the Left need to have children (and do all the messy things like change diapers, wipe noses, and shuttle endlessly back and forth between soccer games and piano lessons) when they can raise yours?