The Village School System

Here is a guest post written by my husband… enjoy!

Power, authority, and responsibility go hand-in-hand. Authority implies responsibility and the power to fulfill such responsibility. Responsibility presupposes possession of authority and power. Without authority and its accompanying responsibility, power is tyrannical. Finally, one can have no responsibility for something over which one has neither power nor authority. The point is, these concepts are inextricably linked. Let’s apply this to the problem in public education or what I’ll call “the village school system”.

Supporters of the failing village school system insist that more money will solve all of its problems. When one points out that private schools perform better with far fewer funds, village-school apologists will quickly point out that such success is largely due to parental involvement. Here’s precisely where collectivist ideology has a negative effect.

We’re all familiar with the modern mantra on the political Left, which insists that “it takes a village” to raise children. This issue has again made headlines when one media figure suggested that children do not belong to their parents, but to the collective village (which politically means that children belong to the state). This usurpation of parental rights is nothing new. The political Left have been attempting to strip parents of their authority, while it uses the power of the state to impose its policies under the pretext of defending the “rights” of children.

When the state usurps the authority of parents, there is little role left for parents to play other than as “pal”, in which they can give friendly advice, but where the “village” discourages parents from actually indoctrinating the child with anything resembling absolute Truth, moral or otherwise. Parents are told by the “village” that they have no real authority (or accompanying power) over the lives of their children. After a generation of this, many of today’s parents have connected the logical dots. They are happy to surrender their authority and exchange it for freedom from responsibility. The village continues to insist that children belong to it, so let the “village” (i.e., the state and its institutions) take responsibility for the education and discipline of children, which is the logical conclusion to village collectivism. This abdication of authority and responsibility has led to a situation where many parents are indifferent to their child’s education. When parents are not so apathetic, they make demands of public school teachers which are not a teacher’s responsibility (unfortunately, good teachers are caught between the demands of unions, policymakers, and parents, while being collectively lumped in with bad teachers).

The grand irony is that many supporters of public education who complain about parental apathy are the same persons who promote the very collectivist policies which strip parents of their authority. Such village ideologues want to have their cake and eat it, too. They undermine parental authority and then act surprised when parents abandon responsibilities concomitant with that authority. What’s worse is that they become apoplectic when some parents refuse to abdicate their authority to the state, instead, removing their children from the village school system and choosing to homeschool. Such persons cannot connect the dots and are surprised that their system is a dismal failure, which then leads them to throw more money at a problem which was not the result of a lack of funding. And, again, when told that private schools succeed with less funding, it never occurs to collectivists that private schools, which are largely religious, conservative institutions, do not endorse ideologies which attempt to strip parents of their authority, leaving parents with the responsibility of caring for their child’s education.

Unfortunately, we can expect village collectivists to continue with their failed ideology. They will continue to insist that the state has the best interest of children in mind, and that collectivist bureaucrats actually love your children and know what’s best for them more than you do. So far, it’s possible to rescue a child who suffers under a truly abusive parent. But who will rescue children from an abusive village if a collectivist state exercises totalitarian power over them?

FG

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10 thoughts on “The Village School System

  1. Once again, my dear brother, it is obvious you have been listening to right-wing talk radio and made no attempt to learn what that “media figure” said. That person was Melissa Harris-Perry, professor of political science at Tulane University and host of a weekend show on MSNBC. The comment of which you speak had nothing to do with parents, parenting, or parents’ responsibilities. Her comment was about education — and yes, about how we don’t spend enough on some children because they are not “our” children. And she’s not wrong.

    We know there are wildly varying amounts of funds that are distributed to schools based on lots of factors, such that one school in a poorer district will get significantly less than a school in a more affluent area, even if they are only a couple of miles apart geographically. When legislators attempt to allocate funds a bit more equitably, PARENTS will scream that the “other” kids are not theirs and thus do not deserve THEIR dollars. This is what Harris-Perry was talking about: we all need to take responsibility for all children if we want a better future. It is in ALL of our best interests to have well-educated children/citizens, whether they are “ours” or not. It had nothing to do with the state raising or intervening or whatever you’re accusing her of saying. She is not advocating for any Marxist-socialist, Synanoni-ian system of a collective raising your children, rather than you.

    But seriously, Frank…DON’T you want your neighbors keeping an eye on your kids when they’re playing outside? Don’t you want another parent to tell your children they’re behaving inappropriately at church if you’re not there? Do you yourself not intervene when you see a child, who is not yours, who is about to get herself into a dangerous situation on the playground or who is about to fall?

    I just thought you needed a reality check about what Harris-Perry said.

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    • First, the fallacy of ‘you’re only parroting your political pundit‘ is not a rational argument against anything I wrote. Furthermore, it is an entirely reversible statement, i.e., one might argue that you’re only parroting the very left-wing media that promotes those kinds of collectivist ideologies. However, just to set the record straight, I watched the MSNBC ad myself, and what I wrote were my own thoughts, and were not something I read or heard elsewhere.

      Nevertheless, Harris-Parry’s statement in the recent MSNBC ad in question meant precisely what was said. How does the context of education at all mitigate her presupposition, i.e., that she doesn’t believe that kids belong to their parents, but to whole communities? In fact, this is precisely the premiss upon which she predicates her views about education. There is nothing to suggest that in every other context she suddenly has a privatized view of children. In fact, Harris-Perry elsewhere argued that she meant precisely what she said, and she even attempted to make a gross comparison of her collectivism to the pro-life notion that one cannot kill his own child, as if opposing the execution of an innocent, unborn human requires an appeal to village collectivism as an operating premiss.

      It also needs to be noted that my post was not solely based on the MSNBC video (which was only one example of collectivism), but on the entire “it takes a village” mentality. Moreover, the points you made about school funding only makes my argument for me. You believe that the collectivist distribution of funds will fix or improve failing village schools. But as I already pointed out in the OP, private schools generally perform better than public schools, and they do so with fewer funds. Why is that? The only answer I ever hear given is that private-school children perform better due to parental involvement, which takes me back to the real point of the OP, i.e., parents have bought into village collectivism and have handed the responsibility of education over to the state. (Keep in mind that I’m issuing generalizations. There are obviously some parents of public-school children who do take an interest in their children’s education, and there are obviously some parents of private-school children who are apathetic. By and large, however, my point remains.)

      Finally, with respect to the examples you gave of other people watching over my children or correcting them, those are all red-herrings. In none of those examples do such people usurp my authority to raise my children, nor do they allow me to usurp other parents’ authority over their children. Such examples do not represent the village collectivism espoused by MSNBC. But to answer your question, would I want someone to help my child if, for example, he were hanging off a cliff? Well, I’ll put it this way: I would want others to help anyone who is hanging off a cliff. Would I expect my neighbor to tell my child he ought not to be, for example, throwing rocks at windows? I’d expect my neighbor to tell even an adult that they should not be throwing rocks at windows. What’s important to note is that helping or correcting another person does not require that they “belong” to the village, nor should it be done because some collectivist bureaucrat passes coercive legislation wherein one must take responsibility for others under threat of penalty.

      FG

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  4. It’s not just parents who are being stripped of their power. Teachers have very little authority in many public schools. They are expected to keep students in line but often are not backed by administration. So students receive empty threats and it doesn’t take too long for them to catch on. Many of the students who take advantage of this fact also have apathetic parents who issue no consequences at home. Students learn that the rules don’t apply and that mediocrity is the standard. It makes me concerned for our future.

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  7. For me, I see it as a case of history repeating itself. “Der Fuhrer and the fatherland know best” (which was/is, ironically, far-right wing now present in some arenas dominated by the the tenured academic left). Misapplied freedom is a freedom without responsibility. It has the appearance of freedom, but it’s not freedom. Parents and teachers, should be able to maintain the right to voice a cautious “yes”, or reasoned loving “no.” For freedom to exist and remain freedom, there are necessary limitations to it. E.g.: I tell my children about respect for road rules and correct them when necessary. Those limitations exist to reinforce safety, ergo protect their freedom.

    If I was to follow the logic of Neo-tolerance I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t want to offend my kids. I would remain affable in order for them (and others) to see me as being dad who is always “nice.” It’s the culture where seeming-to-be-doing is more important than actually doing; appearance over substance; reputation over character. In the end I’d much rather be a good dad than bath in any fleeting and fickle collective pat on the back from the village.

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