Saturday, May 11, 2024

Dividing the Right through the false choices of 'School Choice'

The politics of 'School Choice' has brought people together from all sides of the 'Right', and has gotten us to talk with each other like never before. People who’ve been acquainted for years are hailing each other with such friendly greetings as:
"Shill for monopoly schools!",
,and my favorite one to be called:
,...etc., etc., etc. Why these shrillest of ideological responses are coming from all sides, stems from an ideological issue that most are seemingly unaware that we all share in and are implicitly divided by, which is what I want to look further into here.

In pursuit of that I’ll be as fair to each side of the 'School Choice' issue (except one) as I can, which is made a little easier as ‘My Side’ has at least a little bit of an issue with all sides (if proposed 'fixes' to education involve textbooks, grades, prepared test scores, etc., that’s not my side), but because I want to focus on why 'School Choice' is dividing the 'Right', I'll resist going down the rabbit hole of arguments I've made against establishment education (public and private) over the last 20+ years (such as here), and focus instead on:​
  • the background all sides are operating within​
  • how what hasn’t been noticed, is affecting each side​
  • what those for & against ‘School Choice’ are actually for and against​
  • what meaningful ‘School Choice’ entails and requires​
Leaving my main concerns about education (reluctantly) aside in order to focus on the Right's sides of the 'School Choice' issue, brings us face to face with the central irony that both sides of the divide share the same fundamental goal - at least on the face of it - in that both would generally agree with this x-tweet from an organization that's at the center of the 'School Choice' storm, Americans For Prosperity:
" The highest form of 'local control' is the individual. Parents should have the right to use their tax money designated for their child's education in the best way they see fit.
Fathers and mothers should not have to co-parent with the government.
Free parents to choose."
So how has the Right become so divided over something they fundamentally agree upon? The Devil, as they say, is in the details. And not just minor details such as I might pick out of the wording in that X-Tweet, or even that of each side's going down very different paths to a common goal, but instead I think it involves something more fundamental, so much so that the positions each are pushing, and objecting to in what the other favors, is steering both away from the goal they intend to pursue.

So when faced with a tangled knot of a problem to solve, and when those attempts that each side pursues is doing more to conceal rather than reveal any actual solution, it's time to pause, reassess the situation, and then, like Alexander, draw your sword and cut the Gordian Knot so that both sides can see what they'd being tying themselves to. And so now that I've taken a whack at it, the answer seems rather obvious, in that the fundamental issue behind what has enabled the Right to become so divided against itself, IMHO, springs from what rarely enters into any discussions over the issue, despite the fact that it drives the legislation and the conversation that's generated regarding it. This issue has become so accepted that it's rarely taken note of, and by failing to be included in the conversation, we too easily slip into the nearly irreconcilable differences besetting us today.

That seems worth taking a closer look.

Sometimes the 'choice' we're given, isn't actually a choice at all
Once upon a time in America it was understood that parents and other legal guardians had an unquestioned parental role and responsibility in deciding how their children would be raised, and in what they would and would not engage in. Within that view, parents were secure in their role and responsibilities as the guardians of their children, while at the same time they understood that the state would be failing in its fundamental responsibility to uphold and defend the lives and individual rights of its people, if it failed to intervene in a parent/child relationship when just cause was shown that serious instances of negligence, physical harm, or other abuses were occurring to the lives & safety of the children involved.

Both exercising our own individual rights and responsibilities in the pursuit of happiness, as well as recognizing the proper role of a just government's Rule of Law in securing them, are dependent upon our being able to make choices free from duress.

What it is that is too often missed or ignored as being 'out of sight-out of mind' by both sides, reveals itself with a look at three fundamental terms, and as we're talking about laws, we'll look at their legal definitions:
Freedom of Choice - Unfettered right to do what one wants when one wants as one wants, except where it infringes or prevents another from doing what that one wants, and do so on. Also excluded is doing something that would harm one’s self or another.
Force: - Power dynamically considered, that is, in motion or in action; constraining power, compulsion; strength directed to an end. Usually the word occurs in such connections as to show that unlawful or wrongful action is meant.
Involuntary: - An involuntary act is that which is performed with constraint (q. v.) or with repugnance, or without the will to do it. An action is involuntary, then, which is performed under duress.
Meaning that when in every day discussions we speak of making a 'choice', what we mean is voluntarily making a decision free from the threat of force, real or implied, free from any intimidation from physical or political powers, and free from any other form of duress. Conversely, when we are unjustly compelled to select from some options and no others, then the options being offered no longer involve our making a legitimate 'choice', and that has implications for both sides of the 'School Choice' issue.

Most people realize, or at least have a vague awareness, that the first state school system implemented in America, was in Massachusetts, back in 1836. Not so many realize that within three years of that system being implemented, those same people of Massachusetts tried their best (and sadly failed) " abolish the Board of Education and to break up the Normal Schools..." because they realized it posed a very real threat to their lives and liberty, in that:
"...The establishment of the Board of Education seems to be the commencement of a system of centralization and of monopoly of power in a few hands, contrary, in every respect, to the true spirit of our democratical institutions; and which, unless speedily checked, may lead to unlooked-for and dangerous results..."
What caused that reversal of opinion, came at least in part from what the first head of that new system, Horace Mann, was using his powers to do; gathering data on students, teachers, and residents, and using that to manipulate popular opinion to further his ideas on how best to 'improve society', and among the tools he used to do that, were the first prepared written tests, letter grades, and curriculums that told teachers what to teach and not to teach (which are rabbit holes I've gone into here & here).

One of those 'unlooked-for' results they feared, can be seen in how our state school systems have functioned as an actual 'replacement theory', in that's been progressively replacing the education of Americans, with only those 'useful facts' that incline them towards welcoming the use of arbitrary political power, 'for the greater good'.

For that reason, and many others, the objections of those public school supporters complaining "But what about the poor &? What about those left behind in underfunded schools!", I summarily dismiss out of hand, as the plain truth is that if they truly cared about those students, and their conditions, they'd investigate the actual nature and performance of the system they're subjecting them to, and then work to extricate them from that, rather than look for ways to prop it up at everyone else's expense. Likewise, I'm not so eager to blame teachers & unions (though I fervently despise unions), as they're more like side-effects of a system that is neither educational nor just.

I will acknowledge that we can’t simply turn & walk away from the public school system as if it doesn't exist - it is operating under our political representation and taxation, and so it is our responsibility to stay engaged with it in school board elections, etc., ​to do what we can to keep it 'honest'. But I won't pretend to support it or imply that it's a credible system, and I sure as heck would not send a child (or a teacher, for that matter) into our public (or many private) school systems today.

Which brings us around to the real issue at the heart of how the Right has become so divided, is that our sense of being secure in our property and ability to exercise our individual rights, has been fundamentally undermined and subverted, through one central and too often ignored feature of modern American life: ​
  • Compulsory school attendance laws
Since the opening of the 20th century, the laws of every state in the union have contained these bitter fruits of the pro-regressive movement, which explicitly prejudges (without just cause) that some parents will abuse their kids by depriving them of an education, ​and therefore all parents must be compelled by force of law to send their children to school. ​ And having taken that responsibility and choice away from us all, these laws then go on to specify which schools our children have to attend, how often and how long they must attend, what they must learn, and what grades and test scores the state will require as proof of their having been adequately 'educated'. Yes, they will, grudgingly, grant some exceptions, but those are then less because it is your right, than as a privilege granted to you, from the state... which is a very different thing altogether.

Keeping in mind those terms we defined above, it should be self-evident that no parent today can be said to be free to make a 'choice' regarding their children's education.

Some might dismiss this all with a:
"Nah, you can choose to homeschool if you don't like the public schools!"
, and I reply:
  • Firstly, how you decide to respond to an unjust use of force is not a choice freely made - your response to a mugger demanding "Your money or your life!", is a decision made under duress, in which you calculate how best to act because you've been unjustly forced into a situation that there is no justification for.
  • Secondly, while home schoolers may be outside the standard system, they are only so far out of it as is 'allowed' by that system, and they are continually having to push back against state scrutiny (and veiled threats) under the terms of state control.
Something else that might be less than obvious, is that being relieved of your most important responsibilities is not a kindness or in any way 'freeing', but is instead a manipulative means of binding, and entrapping your behavior. One of the more obvious examples of this, are those who've tried to move into or out of a neighborhood because of the school district its in - whether or not they have kids - that's a great deal of influence upon our lives and decisions, due to an unjust law. The fact that we've become accustomed to acting under such compulsion, doesn't change the fact that there is no 'choice', rightly defined, that a parent has or can be offered in regards to education - only bad & worse options to be selected under duress.

I'll remind people again of the father of our school district and superintendent systems, Ellwood P. Cubberly, who wrote with great satisfaction, way back in 1909, that:
"Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent."
We're in denial of the fact that when someone makes you an offer you can't refuse, they're not offering you a choice, they're making you a threat. ‘School Choice’ has so easily divided the right, ​because all sides are focused on their own particular evasions for dealing with the real issue they've become accustomed to ignoring​, and which ultimately benefits only those who're opposed to both sides of the Right’s divide​.

These conditions are not a result of a just Rule of Law, but of the inevitable consequences of bad and unjust laws and those departments which implement them.

Just law can be applied evenly to all, and serves their common interests, ​
“the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom” - John Locke​
, but it is the hallmark of an unjust system that the weight of the law will fall more heavily upon some than others, and narrows the scope of everyone's actions to their own immediate interests.

Failing to realize that we've accepted this unjust baseline as our 'norm' - a foundation built not just upon sand, but quicksand - leads us into our constructing our own defenses around an irresolvably unjust policy as if the pretense of it were a legitimate baseline.

So long as these compulsory laws remain in our lives, no one, whether for or against 'School Choice', is able to offer a pathway towards a voluntary, unforced, choice in education. That option simply does not exist within the United States of America today, nor has it at anytime in the last hundred years, and behaving as if it is an option - or as if defeating a 'School Choice' policy will somehow safeguard or secure that option - is deceiving ourselves.

'School Choice' is not the issue, pretending that we have a choice, is, and our divisions are a result of doing so.

We need to face up to the fact that there are no actual choices that can be made and no solutions that can be offered - there are only trade-offs between options that are unavoidably bad or worse, depending upon individual circumstances. And don't forget that all such relief is temporary and lacking in substance.

We gain nothing from continuing the pretense of having a choice in the matter, and we lose a great deal by ignoring this utilitarian cancer at the heart of our society, as it implicitly gives license to the abuses of power that our governments have been enjoying over We The People for the last hundred years.

If it's not yet clear why, consider what I asked a room full of people who're involved in the 'School Choice' issue, last week:
Show of hands: Who has kids?​
, nearly all hands went up. Then I asked:
  • Who’d trade their kids for food?​
  • Who’d trade their kids for a new car?​
  • Who’d trade their kids for a house?​
  • Who’d trade their kids for a job?​
  • Who’d trade their kids for friends?​
  • Who’d give up their kids for the right speak their mind?
, and as you might imagine hands went down, along with some smiles, chuckles, and not a few puzzled expressions. I continued:
"So we value our kids more than our food, possessions, shelter, means of earning a living, freedom of associations, freedom of speech, even life itself... but we've quietly permitted our laws to take away our voice in and control over, how they’ll be raised & educated?

Now ask yourself, if government can infringe upon what its citizens most value in their lives, upon the most important of individual rights - parental rights - and do so 'for the greater good' - as it has, then whatever other 'rights' we might imagine ourselves to be secure in, can be only as secure as that same government finds it convenient for us to continue imagining ourselves to be, to serve what it sees as being for 'the greater good'.

Look at that list - since the passage of compulsory schooling laws in the early 1900s, our governments - federal, state, and local - have inserted themselves through innumerable laws and regulations, that infest every single one of those issues, and enter into every single aspect of our lives, on the basis of it being for 'the greater good'."
They got the point.

Having ceded our rightful choice in the most important and visceral of our individual rights, we've left ourselves without the solid ground of principle to stand upon, and that has unavoidably fostered an ever growing chaos of distorted opinions and divisions amongst us. Having done so in this issue, as in many others, because all sides are focused on their own substitutes for dealing with the real issue​, all sides are subtly put into opposition to what actually is real and true, and so we find ourselves righteously facing off against each other as foes, each imagining themselves to be preserving an ideal that we've allowed (and still allow) our federal, state, and local governments, to sweep aside long ago.

And those whose positions of power depend upon and require their maintaining this new illiberal system, are sucked into upholding it, encouraging it, and taking advantage of it as well.

It's not each other we should be opposing, but the system which foments that opposition, and neither side should be begrudging what little relief that others might manage to secure within it.

Our tolerating or ignoring this 'norm', leaves us all in the ridiculous position of behaving as if our tweaking a fundamentally corrupt system through every inconsequential side effect of it, from homework, to testing, to attendance and doctors' notes, could somehow produce something 'good'. OTOH, if instead we were to begin mutually identifying and calling out this shared 'norm' as an intolerable injustice that must be eliminated, it would free both sides from the exhausting effort of defending the indefensible aspects of their particular positions, and by enabling them to acknowledge what is bad and worse, in their proposals, as temporary options - some more risky than others - to provide relief to some, without taking our eye off of eventually eliminating what caused that injustice to begin with.

So the 1st step in resolving our divide is to face up to reality, accept the responsibility that involves, and focus on the only way to restore actual choices in education for all: Repealing our compulsory schooling laws, and abolishing those departments of state which enforce them.

In one of many lessons available for us to learn from the ancient Roman Republic, long before it sank into empire, it was beginning to stumble because its people wanted to avoid dealing with an issue that if ignored, would end them - the hostile empire of Carthage. There was one senator, Cato, who began ending every one of his speeches - be it about matters of security or sewage systems - with 'Carthage Delende Est' - 'Carthage must be destroyed'. Every time he spoke, he ended it with 'Carthage Delende Est', which irritated everybody. But it also made it into such an issue that they couldn't avoid dealing with it for long, and eventually they did free themselves from the threat of Carthage by destroying it (there are of course... other lessons to be learned from that, but... elsewhere).

We need to do something similar, with (Latin speakers forgive me) 'Compulsory Schooling must be destroyed!'.

Every year matters have gotten worse, and every year everyone's circumstances will continue to become progressively worse, so long as we live under these 'educational systems', no matter what 'choices' (and responsibilities) are offered or rejected today.

That is the background of what all sides of the Right to become divided against itself, within. And adding to that, both sides of the 'School Choice' divide are ignoring or evading some or all of these simple facts:
  • To some extent everyone is co-parenting with government today and has been for over a century.
  • No solutions are possible within our current legal framework, only bad and worse trade-offs.
  • Our divisions benefit only those who're opposed to both sides and neither side's pretenses & narratives can slow the state's progressive domination of education - though some may speed it up.
, and depending upon which approach your side takes in treating the unreal as real, leads to its own particular problems.

As I'm inclined to identify most with those who're opposed to the bulk of 'School Choice' policies, I'll turn to the issues I see in that side, first.

Those troublesome details that the Devil is in, are affecting all sides
Our side's opposition to 'School Choice' comes from our focus on the fundamental principles and (very real) long term dangers which the more immediate benefits of 'School Choice' obscure. But when our focus is refracted through the lens of a non-existent choice, it typically results in what most irritates the other side about us, our behaving as if we were the guardians of a higher moral ground that somehow floats above the reality which we're all mired within here and now. From that vantage point we're often quick to judge those who've 'chosen unwisely' by either having missed, ignored, or refused to see, what we imagine to be the only true 'choice' available - a 'choice' which in reality has never been on the table, and in doing so we push away those we should be aligned with.

Those parents who are caught in We The People's laws, see their options as being either to send their kids into our public schools (all of which are bad, some of which are even physically dangerous) or to get their kids out from under that system's direct influence, ​are parents who are on our side. What's more, we are on their side, in wanting their kids distanced from what the state intends to infuse into their mind and spirit.

But when those same parents are told that 'School Choice' can reduce the system’s influence on their kids, only to hear us label them as unprincipled 'neo-liberals!' who should 'stop sucking up to Bill Gates & the Globalists!' - what 'choice' do you think they're going to make? Telling these parents to sacrifice their children today, for the sake of preserving an imaginary choice, is pushing away those who should be aligned with us.

Don’t let the messaging become the message -no matter what truth there is behind it, ​‘Stop sucking up to the Globalists!‘ is not a persuasive or informative message​!

Without confusing the parent seeking options with the politicians concocting options (which I'll turn to soon enough), understand that nearly anything that lessens the injustice of the current situation upon their kids, is a defensible action - not a good action - but an action that's less worse than what they're already faced with here & now. Yes, in 'the long run' it likely will bring worse consequences, but don't forget those simple facts we just noted - in 'the long run' the unjust system is going to devour us all, and pretending that demanding some take a worse option because the bad one isn't good, within a system that permits no good options, or that we have the luxury of time to avoid dealing with the matter, is only deceiving ourselves. At best.

When you're talking with them, acknowledge the benefit to their kids of escaping out of the establishment school systems, and into the church, private, or homeschool options they prefer, and also be very clear about what is bad and worse about each particular policy. Make very clear the 'shackles for sheckles' mechanism involved in the 'choice' being offered​, be sure to point out the less than obvious long-term dangers those alternatives could have for their kids, to themselves, and to their community.

And be sure to point out how the compulsory schooling system has taken the actual choices that should be theirs to make, away from them!

Those parents should be mad, but at those who're manipulating them for political gain, not at our side of the divide for slinging insults at them.

The battle for liberty is not a coin toss of yes/no options, it's a long-term struggle that requires our recognizing our own responsibilities and looking beyond the issues of the immediate moment. Note that I'm not denying that the consequences of many if not most 'School Choice' policies are awful, they are.

Full stop.

I'm saying that by accepting this false dichotomy of good and bad choices that are an Affordance Traps (see "Staying Out of Affordance Traps") which force us into positions that don't reflect reality. Refuse the false premise that 'School Choice' (for or against) is the only, or 'real' choice - it's not true. Taking a stand upon faulty ground, saps us of the full power of principled positions & ideals we do share, and leads only to deeper divisions between us.

School Choice is a trap... but.
  • Principles don't somehow excuse us from recognizing and dealing with reality.
  • Principles are intended to clarify our thinking, not to filter out uncomfortable facts.
  • Principles are aids to thinking, they are not substitutes for thinking.

  • Principles cannot come to the aid of those who're willfully blind, the principled path lies in prudently confronting the reality we do have, not the one we wish we had - so long as we have no true choice in the matter, neither side can win. Put a spotlight on both the short and long-term risks that these false 'choices' bring with them, and so enable a united and urgent focus on a worthwhile long term goal that both sides can share in, ​one that will enable our principles to guide us in responding to the risks and consequences we face, now and in the future. ​

    Repeat after me: The reality is that we have no choices to choose from, we have only deeply flawed trade-offs between bad and worse conditions to select from, and a much more important battle to either win, or flee from.

    The harsh truth remains that we're not going to solve any of these issues by either promoting or opposing 'School Choice' today, or even in the next few years. Pretending that either side has solutions in sight, is deluding ourselves and makes us unable to focus on what is important to us all, which benefits only those who oppose both sides of our divide and are playing both sides towards the middle, which puts us even further behind than we already are.

    We all need to stop doing that.

    The Bad and Worse Trade-offs on the other side of the 'School Choice' divide
    So we've looked on one side of the 'school choice' divide, with those of us who want to uphold some sense of integrity within a system that does not and cannot support or permit any such a thing. On the other side of the divide, are those who're inspired by the vision of 'School Choice' being a competitive market alternative to enable our educational tax dollars to follow kids into the educational market of charter, private, or church schools, or for homeschooling expenses, sometimes called ‘backpack funding

    If nothing more was involved than that, I suspect that there'd be little or no division over the issue amongst the 'Right' today, but as the Right is clearly being divided over something, we need to look closer at the reasons for that.

    On looking closer at the side of the 'School Choice' divide, it appears to me to be a target rich environment, but one that it is stratified into three intermingling layers,
    1. The surface layer of contains the majority of those on this side of the divide and consists of well intentioned liberty minded people who're generally uninformed about the less than obvious dangers lurking beneath what on the surface seem to be common sense issues.
    2. The next layer down is fewer in number, but is made up of enthusiasts, activists, and legislators, who're in a position to learn about the hidden perils involved in their plans, but are content to remain plausibly uninformed and misinformed, so long as it serves their ideological interests.
    3. The bottom layer has the fewest members, and is made up of those who either selectively ignore information that might trouble their plans, or cheerfully use their influence to add partial information to aid in willfully misleading those upper layers whose support they need in building and furthering their agenda.
    These strata exist and persist because without a larger principle guiding our actions, such as:
    "Demanding to restore individual rights and abolish compulsory schooling laws​"
    , we're too easily swayed this way and that by a disintegrated array of lesser advantages in,
    • economics,
    • test scores,
    • personal preferences,
    • political advantage,
    ,etc., etc., etc., unaware or unconcerned with how those smaller issues conflict with that larger principle which... we don't have in mind.

    Or IOWs: We divide and conquer ourselves.

    The uninformed majority
    Lacking a formative principle to unify around, the first layer that this side of the school choice divide is stratified into, is the first and largest group, of the mostly well-intentioned people of the uninformed majority, and the reason they follow 'School Choice' is a reason that's common to all three levels, in that they believe that 'School Choice' can provide a means to escape government schools. If you point out that their policy lacks a principle to guide it, they'll typically respond with:
    ‘What about Choice?!’
    , but unfortunately, 'Choice' is an action or a policy, not a principle. To that they're likely to reply:
    ‘What about Liberty?!’​
    Liberty certainly could be, and should be, our guiding principle, but as we've already pointed out, any meaningful attempt to stand for liberty, is undermined by the realities of the three definitions of 'Freedom of Choice', 'Force', & 'Involuntary', which means that our policies do not have either freedom of choice or liberty to build upon, and the 'School Choice' policies being promoted, cannot fill that void on their own.

    But would the components of current 'School Choice' policies like Missouri's SB727, even be compatible with a principled view of liberty, if we did have one? That's what we'll start looking at here.

    Of course, being uninformed is not equivalent to being unconcerned or lacking in intelligence, and if we confront their positions with disdain or putdowns, it's going to be taken by them as pure nonsense and be entirely unpersuasive. But by raising the necessary questions, and answering them factually, there's a good chance that we can help them inform themselves to the point that they'll reconsider what more there is to know, which puts what might otherwise have seemed like common sense, into a whole new light.

    So let's start with its most basic presumption, the claim that:
    • 'School Choice' is a 'Free Market' alternative
    , and the first question is, what do they mean by 'Free Market', is that having the conditions of liberty where people are able to engage with others as they see fit, or do they mean that fairy-dust of economic magic: 'competition!'.

    Without diminishing the value of competition between businesses, having the liberty to produce what others might want to purchase, is a more fundamental part of that any market, than the 'competition' which results from it. And as our three definitions above pointed out, there are reasons to doubt that that more fundamental condition does or even can exist in this educational 'market'. Yet people often call for 'more competition!', as if 'more competition!' is somehow the fundamental trait of not only a 'free market', but of America itself - and that's simply not the case.

    Our early American patriots weren't up in arms at the British because they lacked enough marketplaces for their tea business to compete in - competition wasn't the issue.

    The Sons of Liberty threw The Boston Tea Party after Britain used regulations (certification of tax stamps) to enable the East India Tea Company to monopolize the supply of tea in the market.

    Their concern wasn't with having a competitive market for their tea business, or with tax rates, but with maintaining a Rule of Law whose principles were dedicated to equally upholding & defending the individual rights/property of all, because they understood how vital that was to their liberty. Only by securing that liberty first, could free markets be formed by those who chose to produce something, which others might choose to purchase (and which competition can result from).

    It was because they had that understanding and those concerns, that they were able to look into the near future and see that those encroachments the Crown was making upon their liberty, weren't going to stop with limiting competition over what, where, and how, they bought their tea! And it was with that understanding that they gave full consideration to the bad & worse options before them, and chose to take the revolutionary action of throwing all of the tea into the harbor.

    In contrast, where our 'schooling market' has had its 'supply' regulated upwards of a century, through teacher certification, curriculum standards, standardized tests, taxation and more, and done so within a 'market' whose buyers - us - are compelled by law to enter into, the response of our 'liberty minded' leaders is to propose 'School Choice' to increase 'competition' by adding more schooling options, and by manipulating the 'educational' tax dollars of people who've been forced into their market. And somehow they think that will somehow transform this marketplace, into a 'Free Market'?!

    A fundamental American response would be to throw our compulsory 'educational market' into the proverbial harbor, rather than to pander to a 'market' which the government has monopolized the supply, the sellers, and the buyers of, while at the same time adding even more policies for how they'll permit us to buy and sell 'education' within it. All without it doing ANYTHING to eliminate the cause of our market's failures, which they implicitly either minimizing or ignoring.

    Can you find the 'free trade!' in this competition
    between Hong Kong and the CCP?
    It should also be kept in mind that the 'Competition leads to liberty!' claim, is the same argument that progressive Republicans like Nixon, & Libertarians like Milton Freidman used to build Red China up from a failing communist backwater, to a worldwide threat that has put the once freest city on earth, Hong Kong, into the hands of the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party. There can be no 'Free Trade!' where there is no Free Market, and there can be no Free Market, where the laws are dedicated not to upholding the individual rights of all equally before the law, but to using political power for the advantage for some, to serve 'the greater good', which results in the loss of liberty and the spread of Social Justice.

    What 'School Choice' does offer, are bad & worse tradeoffs - acknowledge the 'bad' or less than worse options, and clarify the negative long-term consequences they are likely to cause. For the parent getting their kids out of public schools, it will result in less immediate government involvement in their children's lives and education, and that is a benefit for them. At the same time, it involves legislative circumstances that have the very real potential to enable or even speed up more undesirable long-term consequences for you, your child, and your community, and it does that while minimizing or ignoring the actual cause of the unjust system that's forcing to into selecting one of these options. There are a number of questions that could and should come to the mind of the uninformed, which are ideologically screened out of consideration, but raising them yourself can help to shine some further light into the shadows of 'School Choice' for them.

    For instance, in regards to the mantra that:
    "‘School Choice’ will give me my Tax dollar$ back and make them portable!"
    , there are a few questions worth following that up with:
    1. Q: Are those tax dollars being returned to you through a tax exemption, a tax credit, or a voucher? A:'Huh?'
    2. Q: Why does that matter? A: It matters whether it's a tax exemption, a tax credit, or a voucher, because of what monitoring and/or restraints can or might accompany those dollars that may once have been yours. An exemption could conceivably involve no restraints upon you at all... and it's interesting that I don't know of any 'School Choice' proposals that propose that. The other two however, not only most likely, but will be, legally required to entail some measure of government accountability for those dollars being 'returned' to you. IOW: 'with sheckles come shackles‘.
    3. Q: Does the voucher/credit provide portability to any school of your choice in the amount of what parents have paid into their taxes? ​
    4. A - I’m not aware of any 'School Choice' policy that does that – I’d *support* the plan that did​. But. Simple portability has bad or worse trade-offs in enabling your tax dollars to follow your children to a better school, and you must decide which is bad and which is worse for you:
      • Public School - Your tax dollars portability enable you to spend them at what you hope will be a better school, but without your political representation, as in 'No taxation without representation!' - if that school you chose is not in your district, then that politically overseen school will be taking your tax dollars, while you will have no political voice or vote in how it is run.
      • Charter School - Your tax dollars are being spent where you want them, but you no 'say' in how these politically defined and regulated schools are run. Neither can you 'sunshine request' any info you might have concerns about.
    5. Q: Does the amount involved entail only what a particular parent has paid into taxes (property, sales, etc.)? A: No. There is no effort to identify or approximate what you paid in towards school related taxes, but only a lump sum to be given to all who accept the voucher/credit, currently approx: $6,000.
    6. Q: So the tax-exemption/tax-credit/voucher will include additional financial 'help' to parents, above & beyond what they had or would've paid in taxes? A: Yes. Which has stirred up dissent amongst conservative ranks, and rightly so, for to state the obvious, as James Lindsay put it:
      'Since when does Conservativism, entail Govt handouts?'
    7. Q: Is that voucher/credit money mine free and clear? A: No... whether directly, or indirectly through who is permitted to accept the voucher/credit money and what they are required to deliver for that, as the saying goes: 'with sheckles come shackles'.
    Some, perhaps even many, having considered those questions & answers, might still conclude that it's worth it for them to utilize, but it seems to me that those tax-exemption/tax-credit/voucher dollar$ should be accompanied by one of those sped up voiceovers that accompany pharmaceutical commercials while they're showing happily headache free people romping on the beach, as the announcer speedily reads ["...may cause cancer in people who breath, while some people report losing both their legs to gangrene - see your doctor first] - sorta like "'School Choice' let me choose my school!' [some govt restraints and intrusions into your decisions and lifestyle may be legally mandated, not limited to reporting & background checks, see your lawyer before pocketing."]

    So, in answer to "‘School Choice’ will give me my Tax dollar$ back and make them portable!":
    • It is not offering your tax money back to you,
    • It is packaging your tax dollars with dollars taxed at the public's expense as your ‘fair share'
    • It is not offering simple portability,
    • It will involve government mandates and requirements of you, the school attended, and what is taught
    Some parents may decide it's prudent to take advantage of 'School Choice' benefits, as a benefit to their kids – but it isn't offering you your tax money back to you, it's packaging your tax dollars with additional dollars as your 'share' of what's been taxed at the public's expense, in your name. That may be useful and convenient - even a lifesaver - but there is and can be no justice involved in that, only both bad and worse trade-offs that entail taking from some to give to others in the name of the 'greater good', which is the system that we've all become so accustomed and numbed to.

    Just make sure they know to blame the system that put them in this situation, not you for pointing it out​.

    How informed are they about ESA's & ESO's?
    Another mantra of 'School Choice', is that:
    ’School Choice’ has no cost, it’s a 'Free Market' alternative that's all paid for by Tax Credits!”
    Some additional questions: Technically it is possible to say that the program isn't funded by government money, that it only creates a ‘Free Market’ investment opportunity where those who donate to provide Educational $, will be able to write that amount off of their taxes through tax credits.

    There are however, further questions to consider:
    1. Q: In a Free Market, is Government supposed to be in either the investment or philanthropy business? A: Nope.
    2. Q: Are these government selected organizations free to supply any educational programs they might choose to offer? A: No – only those selected & approved by law and as defined through the regulatory bureaucracy.
    3. Q: Are any organizations free to offer educational services associated with the EAO & ESA? A: No. Currently there are only 7 ‘non-profit’ organizations that have so far been approved by government.
    4. Q: Does Government selecting who can & cannot do business with 'non-profit‘ organizations, and deciding what they can and cannot offer as 'education', sound like ‘free market competition' to you? A: Nope.​
    5. Q: Can any sense of a free market exist when the terms & percentages of doing business are defined by Govt decree? A: Nope

    6. See MO Section: 135.714.
      Educational assistance organization duties — annual audit
      — duties of state treasurer for details.
    7. Q: Maybe not, but don't these tax credits for EAOs/ESAs, enable 'School Choice' to be available to everyone at no cost to us? A: As it is true that there is no such thing as a 'Free Lunch', the promise of 'free!' anything, should raise questions for you. Donors contributing to the fund, to get an equal amount back as a tax credit, is an effort made to produce a benefit... without a reward - AKA: 'Free!'. The organizations that the donations go to, are required to doll out 90% of them to 'scholarships' (... so many more questions there....), which is all very well and good. But leaving aside what's involved in that tax 'credit' going to them (From where? Where would it otherwise have gone?), where does the other 10% go? We don't know, and have no way of knowing, as what the money received by the 'non-profit' organization, through the process that our government has enabled in your name and through your political representation, is going into private hands, and we have no way of monitoring the Where's, Why's, and Whom's (WWW) involved. That's what's known as a 'Private-Public-Partnership' (PPP), and that is the very antithesis of a Free Market.
    There is a great deal of history available for people to inform themselves of, that will enable them to understand that whenever government has involved itself in providing or facilitating what it should not, things have progressively gone from bad, to worse. They should form and pursue those questions.

    The fact is that a Free Market is what results from a principle that you either abide by, or abandon. ​ Which will you choose?​

    But wait, there's more!
    1. Q: Does accepting additional funds (over and above what taxes you've paid) in a tax credit or ESA/voucher, entail 'public oversight' of how that money is spent? A: Spoiler alert: Yes.
    2. Q: Is that oversight limited to only what money is spent, or could it extend into govt having approval over the materials and content and quality of teaching involved? A: To answer that requires asking more questions:
      • Could that oversight extend to the facilities (school or home) being taught in?
      • Could that oversight extend to qualifications and 'training' of those involved have or have not had?
      • Could that oversight extend beyond their competence and knowledge of a subject, to their 'soft skills'?
    If the most probable answers to those questions don't immediately send a shudder through you, ask yourself whether govt has more often permitted unclear issues to set limits upon government's powers, or has it used those uncertainties to expand government's powers into our lives? If the answer to that isn't obvious to you, you should look into the development of the IRS, the 'Navigable Waters' acts for property owners and farmers, and of course the 'Patriot Act's affects upon everyone's communication.

    Ask yourself this: If you accept a tax credit or ESA/voucher towards your child's education at private, church, or homeschools, what wouldn't the state be able to inspect and approve - or disapprove - of? The possible answers to that is the sort of thing that is feared will follow - eventually if not immediately - from a 'School Choice' bill proposed in Tennessee, which has provisions that, if money is taken - for private, church, or homeschool - then: a by imposing rules & requirements on the 7 providers (what a market!).
    "... this bill would provide that all officials and employees who work directly with children, must receive annually, the child abuse training program..."
    You should ask yourself how the government would verify that such 'training' had been understood and adequately applied? If you don't see how this has the potential to go far beyond wasting time and into subjecting entire families to psychological and ideological training, you should talk with any of your family & friends who've had the misfortune to 'engage' with 'Child Protective Services' departments.

    Governments have consistently used oversight of public money to extend the reach of its powers beyond that of the literal letter of the law. It also uses that to ally itself with those special interests who stand to benefit from such laws.

    A Free Market is what results from those principles which you either abide by, or abandon. Being pragmatic requires dealing with everything in life piecemeal, which ultimately is exceedingly impractical and amoral if not immoral. If you want to be practical, stop being pragmatic, and start being principled.

    The wackadoos of the Uninformed
    In absence of that information the Uninformed have so far failed to consider, criticism of their position seems absurd to them, and they typically deride those who don't support 'School Choice' by names such as 'Wackadoos!' for their concerns over state interference in their lives, and will fire back at them that:
    'There're no such provisions in our bill!'
    , which they seemingly do so in denial or ignorance of at least one very important qualifier: Yet.

    Perhaps they have forgotten how Hillsdale College, if they ever knew, that after having admitted students who'd privately secured 'govt assistance' for their tuition, Hillsdale became locked into a decades long legal battle with the government over the claim that the college was required to adhere to numerous Dept. of Education 'standards, practices, and guidelines' that the Dept of Education had determined that they should have complied with.

    In the end, the SCOTUS determined that with 'sheckles come shackles':
    "...In Grove City College v. Bell (1984), affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal government prevailed over Hillsdale College, asserting that when an educational institution accepts students who receive government funds, it’s subject to government regulation..."
    , and because Hillsdale lost, they do not now engage in, or accept students who engage in, government funded tuition today.

    Does their position sound 'wackadoo' to you? Those on the 'Right' who are opposed to 'School Choice' have good reason to be rightly fearful that once such laws are taken advantage of by some in home schooling, they'll be pushed to become the norms for all to comply with, as has happened here already, and recently in West Virginia where protections for homeschoolers were put in the laws in 2021, and repealed in 2023.

    And to the 'School Choice' supporter who tells the homeschoolers "If you don't like it, don't take it!", while that might sound very common sense on the face of it, there are at least two points of failure in it.

    First, it ignores the fact that when those additional requirements to be abided by, become the norm for some under 'School Choice', it will tend to become treated as the norm for all, and those who don't want them, will be forced to be mindful of their deadlines to opt out of those new norms, as well as having to file new reports to be submitted, lessons to be justified, curriculum to be approved, grades to be evaluated, hours of teaching to be tallied, penalties for not knowing every clause of the regulatory codes, all to be submitted to and ruled upon, by a governmental bureaucracy that thoroughly disapproves of them.

    Second: Changing from 'We're gonna make you an offer you can't refuse' to 'We're gonna make you a number of offers you can't refuse', doesn't make it any less of a threat towards you - there is no free 'choice' being offered, only more options that you are being compelled to select from.

    'Compulsory Schooling Delende Est!'

    "Why can't you just be pragmatic about this? Be practical!"
    Libertarian, conservatives, politicians, & business minded folk will sometimes say things like:
    'Don't get excited, we just want to be pragmatic about this, experiment 'till we find something that works!'
    , and I can't help but reply, that one of the three founders of Pragmatism, John Dewey, was the father of the same system of Progressive Education that we're battling with today. Dewey's and their pragmatic advice, believing as the German idealists did that we can't know reality as it actually is ('the thing-in-itself'("das Ding an sich")'), was that we should ignore principles, and experimentally do what seemed likely to produced useful results. And if and when that fails (oops! Sorry about wasting that year kids!), do something else until something works, rinse & repeat.

    The Founders of Pragmatism:
    C.S. Peirce, John Dewey, William James
    You've probably heard Nietzsche's comment about those German Idealists, usually paraphrased as they're:
    'Muddying the waters to make them appear deep'
    That was describing those dense idealists 'philosophies' of Kant & Hegel, and which Marx then materialized. The Pragmatists generally agreed with them - Dewey published his first four articles in the St. Louis Hegelians publication - but they wanted to make them seem a little simpler and less offputting, basically to repackage them into a more marketable format, which I like to describe as:
    'Muddying the waters to make them appear shallow'
    , meaning something to the effect of 'Oh sure, you might not understand all this stuff, but it's not really all that important, and certainly nothing to worry your pretty little head over' - or shorter still: 'Just Do It!'.

    It's not too much to say that the pragmatists took Marx's telling comment that,
    "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it."
    , and pragmatically restated it so that those deeper issues that people once concerned themselves over - reality, truth, ethics - were transformed into inconsequential shallows that needn't concern anyone. It was from perspective that they came to the Pragmatic definition of 'Truth':
    'Truth is what works'
    , and accepting those substitutes, shifts your thinking away from being concerned with qualities of what is real ('real?!') and true, and right & wrong, to a more utilitarian interest in quantifying matters for ‘the greater good’​.

    Unfortunately for us, as the idea of liberty under the rule of law is entirely incompatible with 'just experimentally doing what works', I'd advise you to make your decisions by other more principled means, especially since being uninformed will not excuse you from the consequences that will eventually follow once those in power turn their experiments in 'what works', into Law.

    It is reckless to advocate for laws without regard to what those laws might 'yet' be used to enable, as once a law is on the books, a statute that is seemingly benign today, is a very short step away from being further amended, or less obviously modified through regulatory rulings that expand the state's responsibilities of oversight, to be overseen by their Dept of Education.

    That has been the history in Missouri, and it will continue to do so in a manner that will only become more intrusive as time goes on, as it's being performed by people who are in virulent opposition to even the existence of non-public education.

    Each opening the govt is given into our lives, it will work on expanding.

    'Compulsory Schooling Delende Est!'

    The Contentedly Misinformed
    The next layer down is made up of those who also believe what the Uninformed Majority do, but though they are in positions to know better, they're content to remain as uninformed or misinformed, as suits their purposes. These people, often legislators and/or activists advising others on what to think about 'School Choice', are typically very knowledgeable about the details of the policy they are promoting, but tend to have only a shallow understanding of opponents objections to their policies (often smearing them as allied with public school supporters), and are only dimly aware of the gaps in their own knowledge, gaps which conveniently enable them to maintain a 'plausible deniability' of details which are more easily dismissed in favor of their own 'common sense' assumptions about them (read: "That seems nuts, so no need to look any further"), which in their mind's trumps their fringe concerns.

    A prime example of this layer comes from a Missouri State Senator, Doug Richey. From the little I've seen of his interviews, comments, and presentations, I've seen no reason to suppose that he’s a ‘fake conservative’, or that he's shilling for 'neo-liberal' ideals, etc., he seems like a sensible, well intentioned proponent of conservative ideals... until he slides into the ideological divide of 'School Choice'. Once involved in that, he too becomes all about dismissing those who criticize his positions as being shills for the teachers unions, school monopolies, tyranny, etc. which are of course quickly met with a loud volley of epithets coming from the other side of the divide, as both sides of the 'School Choice' divide do what conservatives do best - come together to divide ourselves over what we all care the most about.

    For instance, there was considerable furor over the potential of a language change from defining primary & secondary schools in general, to "for the purposes of state law, a homeschool is a school", which a reasonable reading of, could potentially open homeschoolers up to harassment or prosecution over existing laws against having firearms in 'a school‘, as well as other activist lawfare abuses, and especially so as Biden's administration has just issued a policy of accelerating Red Flag laws.

    I don't believe the republican legislator's intended their language change to enable any issue of the kind, but instead of taking people's - their constituents - concerns seriously, they mostly minimized or dismissed them, and then mocked all such concerns as being 'wackadoos‘ and shills for monopoly education. As people's concerns didn't let up, they found some support from their own side, posting a legal opinion that said:
    "... such actions shouldn't be possible..." and "... if they did, they'd quickly run into articles & clauses...",
    , and they seemed stunned that people weren't satisfied with that, as if we weren't aware that in today’s judicial climate we have had prosecuting attorneys like Kim Gardner in St. Louis who should prosecute criminals but don’t, and shouldn’t seek to prosecute people defending their homes, yet do so, and where Secretary of States in Colorado and Maine attempted to ban presidential candidates from their elections, and where people shouldn’t be imprisoned for sitting in protest outside an abortion office. Somehow to ‘School Choice’ supporters surprise, many of us weren't satisfied with staking our lives on how our judicial system 'should' behave.

    Many, including myself, urged that they
    "Don't be reckless with the 2nd Amdt, and with lawfare against our fellow citizens. Just revise the clause, so we can get back to arguing over 'School Choice'."
    , but the comments from that side of the 'School Choice' divide continued to be filled with angry dismissals, insults, and denials. Only after respected libertarians and conservatives, like activist Ron Calzone of MoFirst, and the constitutional lawyer, Dave Roland,, who's argued and won cases before the MO Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, expressed his concerns that since the Courts were not acting on legislation as they should, legislators should not count on what 'should' be done in court.

    Soon after that, FHE/HSLDA withdrew their support for their bill, and only then did the legislators bother to reexamine their legislative language.

    The point here is not whether or not laws can be misused, but that when lawmakers become so focused on one ideological issue, the possible ramifications it could have on other issues are put out of sight & out of mind for the sake of that agenda, as the concerns & objections of people – constituents! - are dismissed as being 'wackadoos' and paid shills for monopoly ed, even though they fundamentally share the same point of view - AKA: ideological warfare.

    Even then, as Jeremy Jacobs pointed out in a well stated video, that in their hurry to fix an issue that had resulted from ill-considered changes, they hurriedly revised a separate house bill to cover those concerns, but if that bill is challenged and struck down, the current legislation flaws and all, would become the law with its ill-considered language intact.

    An example of this defensive 'common sense' dismissal, comes from a clip of Sen. Richey when he stood on the senate floor to reassure those who were concerned that the programs that are deeply entwined in their 'School Choice' legislation he was promoting, had purposes he was unaware of, saying:
    "...Just for clarity's sake, I think I'm fairly well known in this room, in this chamber, as a fairly conservative feller, and Competency Based Education is not a liberal effort..."
    , and my jaw hit the floor at that. Such a comment as that might've been understandably stated as a 'common sense' position back in the early 1990s, by someone who was ignorant of the critical pedagogies it was derived from - and plenty of conservatives who knew no better were taken in by it - but it strains credulity to imagine how naive someone has to be to say that, who's lived through the experience of Outcome Based Education (and CBE is just re-branded OBE), and especially coming from someone who's served for several years on the Education Committee of a state legislature, as Sen. Richey has.

    When challenged about that comment, rather than looking into why his constituents were alarmed at his 'common sense' statement, he seems to have zoomed right past the possibility that he might be unaware of an actual danger to his constituents, and doubled down on it by X-Tweating his support:
    "...The core element of Competency Based Education is also present within homeschool education. Curriculum is paced by the child’s mastery of the subject at hand. The student advances as quickly or slowly as he/she reaches competency. That's why my bill created a pathway for early graduation.

    If this is leftist, then you're suggesting that every homeschool family is using a leftist approach. CBE removes arbitrary timelines and rejects the notion that education is a manufacturing process where every student is the same..."
    Such 'common sense' dismissals express an ignorance of what should be widely understood by anyone in such a position as Sen. Richey, as being less 'common sense', than an echo of corporate marketing, of the sort that Jane Robbins exposed seven years ago about "What’s not to like?" in 'Competency-Based Education', which entails:
    "...CBE is essentially the same thing as outcome-based education (OBE), which was all the rage in the 1990s until parents rebelled. OBE and now CBE posit that the government should establish outcomes it wants students to achieve and then work backwards, setting interim benchmarks along the journey to that goal. Students would work at their own pace to establish “competency” at each benchmark[...] So this is the first problem with CBE: it aims not for excellent, but for good enough...."
    , and,
    "...the vague outcomes governments established under OBE focused more on “values, attitudes and behaviors – often reflecting quasi-political and ideologically correct positions – rather than knowledge, skills and other cognitive academic outcomes.”

    The goal wasn’t to instill academic knowledge, it was to train children to give responses in non-cognitive realms, to exhibit the psycho-social skills the government considers most valuable. This is what prompted opposition from parents then, and this is what CBE is trying to replicate now...."
    Dr. Bruno V. Manno: Outcome-Based Education: Miracle Cure or Plague? September 1, 1995
    "...Third, I examine what has occurred in two states—Virginia and Minnesota—that have implemented outcomes approaches. Their experiences are similar 'to those of other states. More than anything, in these efforts we see well-intentioned elected public officials blindly handing responsibility for specifying outcomes to groups dominated by education views nearly antithetical to those the public officials thought they were mandating. The typical result is a list comprising mostly transformational outcomes that arise from the progressive idea that schools should make a "new social order." This discussion illustrates how "the devil is in the details" whenever reformers advocate an outcome-based approach to education...."
    , CBE, like OBE before it, selectively sidesteps, evades, and reduces knowledge & wisdom in favor of tallying up measurable quantities of 'questions & answers' that are useful for attaining their ideological objectives, reflecting not the quality of a student's understanding of a subject, but their ability to give those responses that their quiz & exam scores were targeted to be ingrained into students as the 'outcome' desired.

    Education proposals can seem like common sense when you look no further into them than their marketing, such as the PR material of programs like The Aurora Institute, which are attached to the 2022 Ed Omnibus Bill, which are self-described as:
    SRS Network Competency-Based Learning Definition
    A competency-based, personalized learning mindset is an essential component that supports this student-centered framework and the work of the SRSN.

    The Missouri framework for competency-based learning (CBL) includes the seven elements that define a competency-based education system, plus an additional Real World Learning element, for a total of eight elements....
    , but unfortunately education is not a subject that's safe to make decisions about based upon its marketing - not if you care about education.

    To be able to read past "... competency-based, personalized learning mindset..." without being thoroughly alarmed at the nature of the system being described, reveals that person to either have a critical ignorance of the issues involved in modern education, or that they are far too unimpressed by the seriousness of them, and in either case they should not be involved in managing, let alone legislating, upon education today.

    Misinformed about buzzwords and 'What's not to like?'
    Have conservatives already forgotten how easily they were taken in by the marketing claims for Common Core?! Do they really expect us to forget about how easily they've been misled in the past?

    The meaningless marketing lingo of "personalized learning mindset ", "...the seven elements that define...." and " additional Real World Learning element..." are dependent upon the ignorance of decision makers, of what lies beneath the surface of the marketing's citations of 'studies say', as SEL does with the 'Durlak study' (a study funded by the Aspen Institute & CASEL, to promote SEL), which professes the claim of :
    '...not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases pro-social behaviors such as kindness...'
    , as support for SEL's claims, despite the fact that the details of the study undermine and refute that claim!

    It takes bothering to look beneath the surface to see exactly 'What's not to like?' in them, but they make such patently irresponsible assertions, because they are confident that no decision maker will ever bother investigating them.

    Another issue is that our SB727 'School Choice' legislation, is riddled with directives for programs and practices that DESE will '...determine policies and practices...' for - how is that possible?

    Too often those on the Right give the impression that they think the real issue with DESE has more to do with which party is running it, than the programs it's facilitating. No! That is not the problem, the problem is that it exists to push critical pedagogies like SEL into kids minds & spirits of our students - how can a knowledgeable legislator not be horrified by that? By believing, and so knowing nothing more than, the corporate marketing sheets for those programs, and imagining that features such as CASEL promotes about SEL's 'Five Core Competencies', to be about new methods for enhancing the quality of character through character development.

    No! Their CASEL 'Five Core Competencies' are not providing a new 'sciencey' way of talking about character, they provide a means of eradicating the traditional western understanding of character, by instilling 'psycho social skills' in manipulating yourself and others to please and align with an activist goal - the praxis of virtue signaling through activism (look at those C3 'grade level expectations' for 2nd graders!) - instead of developing their student's knowledge of what is real and true, and developing the character to respect that. And they are rapidly insinuating those beliefs and practices into every aspect of our communities (look at the outer rings of 'communities', 'families & caregivers', 'schools', 'classroom' around their 'core five' - which BTW, is the strategic goal that John Dewey laid out a century ago, and SEL simply modernized).

    That is what DESE and the programs they favor, are pumping into our kids, and how anyone can manage to not be alarmed at being involved in promoting DESE and its agenda into our students?!

    Our legislators should be far more inclined towards caution, than towards accepting the assurances of these corporate marketing plans. But the sad fact is that we've got activists and lawmakers campaigning on 'improving education!' while not only unaware of what is actually wrong with education (Hint: It ain't Test Scores!), but are unaware of or unimpressed by the fact that they are enabling and facilitating the implementation of Social Justice pedagogies that are designed to subvert the mind & spirt of our children.

    With that point in mind, it alarms me that Sen. Richey put out a response to those who had expressed concerns about the 'School Choice' SB727 bill, which he believes to be a convincing and 'common sense' approach, at about the 17 min. mark:
    "... So to insinuate that because UNESCO, un, wef, talks about education, and in some way trying to, in some kind of subtle way begin to try to influence and takeover elements of private education, does not invalidate other groups and other individuals working to promote, uhm, private education, and parental rights, and parental choice, when it comes to education. We may be talking and using the same words, but the agenda is very different. So from my perspective, it is absolutely not a leftist impulse. We're talking about an effort that's been part of the rep platform for decades. This goes back to Ronald Reagan, it's a part of the Trump platform, its in the Republican platform... this is an important effort when it comes to decentralizing the influence and decision making of education regarding our kids, and if this were some UN ploy, they would not be working to decentralize, they'd be working to take over the decision making process, so no one would be able to decide outside what they determine, right? ...."
    To say that you are able to share in the words you're using, but not the agenda being served by them, might be possible when the legislation being proposed by democrats and republicans is for building a hospital or a freeway offramp.

    But when you are talking about those methods and programs concern what will be used to instill ideas, beliefs, and patterns of thinking into the minds of children... to assume that they will be implemented in the traditional fashion that most people assume, rather than in the manner of the radicals who've reigned in our Teachers Colleges (which nearly every teacher is mandated to have graduated from), in order to advance the pernicious and stated purposes of producing social justice activists, is not only foolish, but is exactly how 'conservative' agendas have so easily been transformed into serving the radical's agenda, decade, after decade, after decade. For our legislators to assume that their support won't somehow be helping to share and promote the radicals' agenda, shows an alarming lack of respect for the power of the ideas that they are negligently playing around with.

    How it is that an agenda is so easily captured and repurposed, is through the use of Semantic Deceptions as a technique that is regularly practiced in academia, and consists of:
    "Redefining terms to get agreement without understanding. Example: use of words that mean one thing to parents and another thing to change agents.“
    This technique is particularly favored by critical pedagogists, who use words they know will be taken to mean one thing by most of the people listening to them, while understanding that their fellow travelers, academics, and Woke Folx, will understand the very different esoteric meanings that were actually intended by them, and which will be implemented in very, very, different directions than what the uninitiated listeners - parents, policy makers - had been led to expect.

    I've posted on this elsewhere, but I think it needs to at least be pointed out here, that critical pedagogists like Henry Giroux, who's put 100s of radical faculty members into faculty positions across America, notes how they turn conservative expectations, to their own critical purposes:
    "...Teaching for many conservatives is often treated simply as a set of strategies and skills to use in order to teach prespecified subject matter...."
    , and that:
    “...On the other hand, critical pedagogy must be seen as a political and moral project and not a technique. Pedagogy is always political because it is connected to the acquisition of agency... illuminates the relationships among knowledge, authority, and power... pedagogy is a deliberate attempt on the part of educators to influence how and what knowledge and subjectivities are produced within particular sets of social relations..."
    DEI uses ‘fairness’ to focus power through the lens of race/gender/sexuality/etc., to 'decenter' and undermine whoever is being targeted as having establishment privilege​. An excellent example of how this 'theory' works out in practice, comes from Jennifer McWilliams, a teacher who’d had enough, told how she'd witnessed a 2nd grade math word problem, as it was passed through the lens of DEI as:
    "Johnny's parents are taking him to the amusement park. If the park is fifty miles away, and they have driven 30 miles, how many more miles to go?
    The teacher then practices 'Culturally Responsive' teaching engagement: "Who’s been to Amusement park?"
    And as some kids don't raise their hand, the teacher is able to turn the discussion: "What are some reasons someone might not have been to an amusement park?"
    , and into discussing the unfairness of poverty, and shouldn't everyone have the money to go to the amusement park?
    ...and that some kids don’t have two parents,
    ...and that others have two mommies or two daddies,
    ...and of course into sustainability and environmental agendas of course: "should people even be driving 30 miles to an amusement park? Won't that harm the environment?"
    So while our legislators are patting themselves on the back over having accomplished their agenda of passing laws requiring more 'back to basics!', the critical pedagogists are busily turning the letter of the legislator's laws, into 20 minutes of 'math oriented' classes that've been fulfilled without any math skills having been taught (Math is racist after all), while several lessons in 'lived experiences' & social justice activism, have been.

    Tell me again how your 'agenda is very different'? I mean, aside from one being printed on paper, and the other's being injected straight into kids heads.

    Yet conservatives continue to take the *pragmatic* ‘practical’ view of management, and blame failing schools on the workers, materials, processes involved (i.e. teachers, textbooks, unions), and propose to ‘fix our schools’ with more rigor (a keyword of semantic deception), homework, and more testing, and they cling to this strategy as if it's a lifeline, rather than an albatross around their necks.

    Another thing the right misses, is that they naturally take the top-down viewpoint of management (and statists, btw), as Sen. Richey expressed above, that we needn't worry, since:
    "...if this were some UN ploy, they would not be working to decentralize, they'd be working to take over the decision making process..."
    , doesn't understand why organizations as widely varied as the Tea Party and Antifa, were able to operate successfully without having a formal organizational structure to coordinate and give marching orders through. They are motivated by their beliefs, not by instructions given to them. They seek decentralization and are repelled by the nature of top-down organizational structures, and consequently they do not need or rely upon the type of top-down decision-making processes that people like Sen. Richey live by. IOW: It's not our laws or even our school systems that the radicals are centralized around, "it’s the pedagogy stupid!", which our mandatory schooling laws and related regulations effectively make mandatory in our Teachers Colleges, and through those 'professional workshops' that are held weekly in your friendly neighborhood schools.

    Conservatives consistently do not grasp that the goals which critical pedagogies are promoting do not require coherent actions and coordinated plans in order to build anything - building is not their goal - tearing down (deconstructing) is! - they only need and desire to insert a crack here, a fracture there, to be considered a complete success. As I've repeatedly pointed out over the years, the statement of radical deconstructionist activist Audre Lorde who declared what's become something of an anthem to the radical Left:
    “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”,
    , and The Master's House is the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian culture - Western Civilization in general, America in particular - and that The Master's Tools come from the toolbox of 'epistemic adequacy', being a respect for Reality, Truth, Reason, Logic, Individual Rights, Property, and the Rule of Law. How that plays out in our lives and the education of our students, is that what appears to ‘The Right’ to be a failure to respect truth, facts, and logic are the deliberate efforts - ‘Praxis’ - they engage with in their ongoing effort of tearing down the Master’s House, and scattering 'The Master's Tools‘ to the winds. What appear to be ‘stupid lessons’ to the conservative eye, aren’t signs of incompetence, but demonstrations of the goals & tools that are being used to destroy the jewels of The Grecco/Roman-Judeo/Christian West:
    • Religion,
    • Philosophy,
    • Knowledge,
    • Wisdom,
    • Literature, virtue, justice,
    • and the Rule of Law
    All of which are easily presented as ‘Critical Thinking’ (much more on that in future posts) to anyone who’s not looked any further into education that its marketing.

    What may be most surprising of all, is that this same Conservative Feller tweeted out a picture of CRT and his personal understanding of Woke, which included:
    "...Politically, it thrives on identity politics. Legally, it pronounces guilt without any evidence of personal wrongdoing. Religiously, it denies the basis of human dignity — the Imago Dei. Semantically, it manipulates public conversation by using broadly celebrated terms, without informing the broader audience that they’ve radically changed the definitions of those terms.

    As a movement, its success is tied to divisive revolutionary strategies deployed throughout existing sectors within our public and private spheres. CRT is the ‘thought’ substructure for the public facing efforts of DEI/SEL/ESG..."[emphasis mine]
    How do you comprehend that, and not recognize that CBE & The Aurora Institute (and numerous other programs implicitly being supported) are suffused with those same strategies of DEI/SEL/ESG? This legislation will be partnering up with organizations that are not only promoting and funding SEL, DEI, ESG, but the legislation being supported will be utilizing the expansion of the 'MO Scholarships' program to spread them with?!

    That ‘School Choice’ is so easily used to help promote these agendas is an entirely unsurprising and unavoidable result of the fact that education is not a political process, and subjecting it to the actions & compromises of the political process, under the eyes of legislators who have little or no understanding of the fundamental perils inherent in what the field has become.

    In addition, as legislators who are focused on writing & passing laws ('that's our job!'), instead of focusing on the fact that their purpose of writing laws is to uphold and defend the individual rights of their constituents, leaves them thoroughly focused upon making political policies ‘work’, as they become ideologically blind to those rights that are being continually infringed upon, by those compulsory schooling laws which their aid is intensifying, rather than focusing upon undoing and ending.

    So long as we put our children's lives and our own individual rights into the hands of politicians unbound to a guiding principle, they're going to be used to serve political purposes, and will continue to degrade, decay, and become destroyed.

    That is the history of school reform in general, and the development of Common Core, CRT, SEL, and so on. There are bad actors involved in 'School Choice', and to assume there aren't, is to be so naive as to make yourself a useful idiot to those who count on either the passive or active ignorance of those in the layers of the Right's 'School Choice' divide, so as to further mislead them all for their own purposes.

    Compulsory schooling delende est!

    Knowingly misleading and misinforming
    Which brings us around to the bottom layer of this half of the Right's 'School Choice' divide.

    This layer has the fewest members, and is made up of those who are too knowledgeable of the scope of positives and negatives, and about the natures of who they're partnering with, to grant the presumption of ignorance. There is too much that they consistently ignore, downplay, or deny the negatives of, which they have to know the details of to navigate the laws and regulations that their organizations operate within. Instead, they carefully cherry-pick what information to share, what to ignore, and what to denigrate, in order to best further their 'Liberty!' agenda.

    That doesn't mean they have ill-intent, it means they think and act Pragmatically! I'd be unsurprised to learn that many if not most have only the best of intentions for furthering 'liberty!'(as they understand it), but in embracing the pragmatic 'the ends justify the means' attitude of experimentally doing what works, they show themselves to be unwise and unconcerned about what is good and true. As such, they have no compunctions against deliberately engaging in misleading the Uninformed and the Misinformed, who are so critical to their furthering their agenda of 'choice & competition' for 'the greater good!'.

    We The People have obligingly provided them with more than a century of legislative and systemic infrastructure to operate within, so that it's going quite a bit wide of the mark, IMHO, to say that someone on this level is either good or bad, as that presumes a system that they are operating within, which would permit something that could objectively be called 'Good'.

    It does not.

    To see how all of this fits together, requires a brief review of what we all have been and are involved in here, knowingly or not.

    You recall Sen. Richey's remark that:
    "...We're talking about an effort that's been part of the rep platform for decades. This goes back to Ronald Reagan, it's a part of the Trump platform, its in the Republican platform..."
    That is very true. I'm not questioning his intentions, or Reagan's, or Trump's. I am questioning whether the good intentions of many fine people, are enough to ensure that they aren't used in a less than good way. For instance you may all be aware of America's response to a study during the Reagan administration, called: ‘A Nation at Risk’(1983), which rightly noted that:
    "...If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war...."
    All across America, from households to corporate boardrooms, people demanded that we ‘Do Something!’. It's true that the risk was very real, but what's also true is that the response of the Reagan administration to 'fix matters', not only reinvigorated a new wave of school reforms - which has always been the most productive means for Pro-Regressives to turn our good intentions to serving their own purposes, but as this time the reforms were coming from within the federal government - it derailed Reagan's promise to abolish the Dept. of Education.

    What began under Reagan's administration, picked up speed with Bush 41's 'thousand points of light', and reached critical speed in the Clinton administration. Without going into the details, which could (and has) filled books, some of the highlights were:
    • Governors & Business Leaders formed non-profit ‘Achieve!’
    • The Education President Bush 41’s ‘Thousand points of light’
    • 1st School Voucher program: The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program - 1990 (lauded by then Gov. Bill Clinton, as well as libertarian economist Milton Freidman)
    • The first law allowing the establishment of public charter schools was passed in Minnesota in 1991.
    • Goals 2000 signed 3/31/1994 as public law 103.227,
    • Improving America's Schools Act (IASA) 10/20/1994 public law 103-382
    The IASA provided a blueprint that further tied federal dollars to State & Local actions, to implement federal policies at the local level (not for the first time, though the first time was also to do with education, in the mid 1800s). Missouri's SB380 (1993) provided
    • "...Students will... [e]valuate events, issues, and systems... and predict their impact upon individuals, societies, and the environment." and that "[The student] uses data from developing countries to evaluate equity issues (...female versus male) concerning access to health care, education, and other social services."
    These plans united Govt & Business as a vehicle for implementing it all, everywhere, as with the "Missouri Community Career System - School To Work STWO", which became law on My 4, 1994 as Public Law 103-239, for
    • "Providing all students with the skills, knowledge, abilities, opportunities to be productive workers and citizens in the high performing workplace that is Missouri "​
    , of which Donna Hearne noted on pg. 93 of her book 'The long war and common core':
    "Missouri has used this to effectively wipeout local control..."
    Because these laws and more are still in effect, they render activists & politician's calls for 'local control!' to be nothing more than exceedingly useful, but very empty, rhetoric. And because this is the world that our legislators and activists accept working within, and probably are thinking that they're going to improve education and make our schools more free - we can and should expect that to work out every bit as well, as increasing trade with Communist China did.

    From Carter, to Reagan, to Bush 41 got the 'School Reform' ball rolling for (to say nothing of Teddy Roosevelt & Woodrow Wilson), which rapidly progressed into the Clinton administration, followed by Bush 43,
    , and put the pedal to the metal with the Obama administrations 'Race To The Top' and 'Common Core'
    BTW, if you haven't heard of Marc Tucker's 'Dear Hillary' letter, you should search it up. This also marked that point where these plans first began taking on the overt attitude of using actual force against those parents who objected to it, and which has now reached the level of our Justice Dept now speaking openly of equating concerned parents with 'domestic terrorists'.

    These policies that began with, and have been formed upon, the violation of our individual rights for 'the greater good' in compulsory schooling laws, have become the standard model for 'effective' policies - separated from principle, but always joined with economic jargon – and so have found favor with libertarians, republicans, and the Left, as being practical *pragmatic* means to ‘make things work’. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) was decided on as early as the 1990s as being THE best template to organize the polling, testing, and data collection methods for doing so (search on CASEL, The Fetzer Institute, UNESCO, for another eye-opener), was written into Federal Law in ESSA, and which Common Core Standards could not have been conceived of without.

    Through these 'new' bureaucratic '21st Century' skills, was created the first coherent high-level roadmap for the School-To-Work process, which is expected to unite every student's studies, grades, and test scores, and all of the survey data associated with them that serves the interests of corporate America's 'Human Resources' departments, and on down the line to local school district rules & regulations, all under federal 'oversight'. Through these processes, we've allowed a system to be created to evaluate & implement continually evolving (experimental) standards, which are dependent upon a constant stream of data covering every aspect of our lives, to evaluate, track, and manage their 'human resources' with.

    These policies and their purposes – behind the marketing of smiling faces and effective increases in productivity skills for the 21st century – are PRIME examples of utilizing Semantic Deception on a grand scale. ‘Whole Child’ always entails a focus on a part of the child, to serve ‘the whole’, as it dupes the well intentioned into furthering the goals and actions of those who truly hate America, Americans, and the West in general, and it is a key tool for their dismantling and ending all things American.

    That current system CANNOT function without infringing upon and outright violating the individual rights of some (and therefore all) people.

    It CANNOT be good, as the ideology is dedicated to do what needs to be done to advance the goal. Whatever helps to move that ball forward - no matter what else it's involved in of the cost. And so long as we don't focus on the fact that it is broken, and what needs to be done to fix it - repeal compulsory schooling laws - we naturally delude ourselves into imagining that tweaking this or that policy could be good.

    It cannot.

    I could go on another 20 pages further into the data-mining and graft which accompanied Common Core, or SEL, and the gutting of FERPA, or the fact that it is big, Big, BIG business, which they all function as a the means of uniting Pro-Regressives of the Left & Right, Leftists, Marxists, NGOs, Govt, and Big Business, in partnership (quick, someone look up Mussolini's definition of 'Fascism'), but we probably shouldn't move on without first giving a quick shout-out to Attorney General Merrick Garland's son-in-law's business, 'Panorama' surveys.

    It should go without saying, that those who are so focused on the issues that they cannot acknowledge the dangers in the system in general, and with 'School Choice's operations within it, is someone who is either deluding themselves, or you, and so you should be very hesitant to trust them, no matter how 'liberty!' oriented they otherwise seem to be. The policies of 'School Choice' are but a means to 'do what works', without reference to, or building upon, principled foundations - legal or educational.

    The most obvious example of those playing the 'competition = liberty!" game, is Corey D'Angelis, who presents himself as Mr. 'School Choice', and who is currently associated with AFP, and who has and does work in concert with UNESCO - which is a despicable, evil, organization that is explicitly bent upon using SEL to transform education and indeed independent thought. To the best of my knowledge he has made no explanations, excuses, or apologies for that - and so is someone I would not want to be caught working with.

    Whether he does so knowingly, naively, or ignorantly, he is not someone whose advice should be trusted.

    AFP as well. I know some very good people who are heavily involved with AFP and who would never knowingly do anything to further some of the aims which they are associated with... nevertheless, they are lending their support to an organization that is furthering those goals that are antithetical to everything they believe, and like it or not, they are aiding it in doing so. Whatever its 'libertarian' aspirations and standing, AFP is playing in the policy sandbox with people and organizations it would be wiser to distance itself from, to protect that liberty they say they value so highly.

    This all progresses along, not just despite their good intentions, but because of all of their good intentions, they do not and cannot make explicitly clear, all of what they are supporting and promoting, through their efforts in 'School Choice', most of which its supporters would recoil from, if it were spelled out for them.

    Hence the Misinformed, and the Uninformed.

    While bad & worse is something we have to contend with, we can't allow those options to become our objective - never take your eyes off the fact that no real improvement can be made while mandatory schooling laws, and the government bureaucracies that exist to enforce them upon us, remain upon the books.

    Where we're at today
    'School Choice' policies are going to continue to be demanded, especially by parents who are trapped in abysmal public school districts (and there are no good ones), and it's not hard to understand the motives of those who believe that they're helping to give those parents a choice of 'not co-parenting with government'. But. We sure as heck shouldn't be dissuaded from pointing out the bad and truly worse options that 'School Choice' is progressively leading us towards.

    ​At the opening I said I wanted to cover:
    • the background all sides are operating within​
    • how what hasn’t been noticed, is affecting each side​
    • what those for & against ‘School Choice’ are actually for and against​
    • what meaningful ‘School Choice’ entails and requires​
    The background which makes it possible, and within which we're all operating with today, is our turning away from the traditional ideal of what education was and was for. To a schoolmaster like George Turnbull, who knew John Locke, and helped educate the philosopher of the school of Scottish Common Sense Realism, Thomas Reid, he gave an overview in the opening chapter of his 'An Essay on Liberal Education'(1742)', as being:
    "...Instruction in the science or art of right living is the chief lesson in education, to which all others ought to be rendered subservient, and what this science is, and what may justly be called false learning."
    , and various works of literature had been found to be the tried-and-true means for students to receive such an education from - whether that came about through schools, or other means & sources, was incidental to its actual point. And education's actual point was and still is (IMHO):
    "To equip a student to become an informed, moral and self-governing individual capable of living a life worth living in society with their fellows in liberty."
    Unfortunately we turned away from that ideal that formed the founders of our nation, in favor of an ever-shifting utilitarian target of 'the greater good', which has progressively enabled the political and economic takeover of our educational system, and the undermining of the foundation of our republic: We The People.

    Don't look to government to fix that, it's up to you. And I do mean you. Yourself. And those your example can influence from having done so.

    What hasn’t been noticed, and is now affecting each side​, is what I expect you're well aware of now, that which is persisted through compulsory education laws, and their inevitable and detrimental effects upon our laws and our people. Repeat after me: Compulsory schooling laws must be destroyed. Make it into a routine comment:
    "Hey, it was good getting together for lunch, and remember, Compulsory schooling laws must be destroyed, have a nice day!"
    , the idea needs to enter into popular opinion to become a goal, and it does that through your talking about it.

    What those who're for & against ‘School Choice’, are actually for and against​, are ideological positions bereft of the principles they've become numb to even noticing. Notice them. Apply them. Bring the discussions of 'choice' you get involved in, back to discussions of principle, and how we can return our communities back to being based upon them, to be capable of and worthy of, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    What meaningful ‘School Choice’ entails and requires, is seeking to educate ourselves and our children, for the benefit of ourselves and our children, and not to 'boost the economy!', as was one of the rallying cries that got the whole awful mess going here, back with Noah Webster's efforts to 'do good!'. It's far more good, to strive to better understand our world and our places in it, and how our ideas and actions can make each other's lives better because we are there in them.​

    Bev Ehlen's sweet, sweet, brownies
    What we do need to do is make these facts (and the questions that will lead people to recognize them) as widely known as possible, so that people can become well enough informed of the bad and worse trade-offs facing us, and the principle goal we should be seeking after, in order to make the best decision that's possible for them, and without their being treated as if they'd willfully turned down the only good and pure 'choice' that was never an option for them at all.

    Be aware that there are those who will continue to press ahead without asking and pursuing the kinds of questions raised here and elsewhere, but when those good intentions are coupled with willful ignorance, ​it's important to remember that it doesn’t mean that they are neo-liberals or on the take, it's only a confirmation that "Ideology produces an ‘invincible ignorance", and it's only when those good intentions are coupled with willful ignorance or deliberate deception, that they become worthy of scorn.

    But even then, when we're tempted to question or insult their 'conservative credentials', recall that legendary conservative Phyllis Schlafly, in spite of years of her friend Charlotte Iserbyt's attempts to get her to see the obvious dangers of 'School Choice' (which eventually ended their friendship), it wasn't until 2012 that she began to see that 'school choice' was becoming a vehicle for how Obama was going to coopt Charter/Choice under Common Core:
    "The Obama Core advocates are even planning to impose their standards on private schools. As the school choice movement grows, the attempt will be made to force any private or charter school that accepts public funds to adopt Common Core standards and have their students take the national tests."
    Just because a person can't yet see the dangers that seem so obvious to you, doesn't mean that they are choosing to 'sell out' or betray the fundamentals you both share.

    The human mind is not something that operates by flowchart logic, if they haven't yet been graced to see the 'bigger picture', they can't and won't see it, and especially not with your insulting them for ignoring what they haven't yet seen. Don't lecture or try to 'educate' them (few things come off as more condescending and insulting as that), just continue to ask those question which they haven't yet seen the ends of, and raise the specter of compulsory education whenever possible.

    And try not to be too shocked when their blindness leads them into the most ridiculous of positions - remember: ideology doesn't just blind you, it deludes you.

    Which brings us around to one last point to illustrate what happens when you allow ideology to intrude into your thinking. During the debates over Missouri's SB727 bill, I had a 'WTH?!'moment, when I saw the flyer along with a homemade brownie attached to it that Bev Ehlen, a conservative who was already very experienced when I first began getting involved during the Tea Party, had put on legislator's desks, with the title "Poop Brownies". But within about 10 seconds of beginning to read the attached poem, the humor was obvious, and the point - how a little sin ruins what should be sweet, paired up with govt controls sullying what should have been a 'choice' - and as it drew a reaction, a response, and a question from me, it was made exceedingly well.

    But someone I've known since the early Tea Party days, took one look at what a politician had posted of it, and clutched his pearls over her "putting bags of dog poop on the desks of legislators", and:
    "How unhinged and desperate are the anti-school choice “conservatives” getting? How far have some people fallen?"
    , and that was the nicer part of his comments.

    If like me, you were unfamiliar with the popular and award winning Sunday School poem that Bev was making her point with, again, it's a poem to teach children a lesson that no matter how delicious a treat might appear to be, if you understand it was made with even a little bit of dog-poop, you wouldn't want to eat it, which is a lesson that can and should be one you apply in life to the world at large, and it's delivered innocuously, and humorously.

    If you're not able to see the humor in a lesson, you're probably not going to be able to pick up on a number of lessons that it would be very much worth your while to start being able to see. And if other people you know and respect are able to get the humor of it, without being offended, you should be asking yourself why you weren't able to, as retaining your sense of humor is so necessary to our being able to learn from life's little lessons. And losing that ability is a sign that you might have begun wandering down an ideological perspective that leads to ways of thinking that are lacking in light.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the Right cannot continue to function under the motive power of ideology, and we can't avoid descending into ideological warfare, so long as we ignore the real state of the system we're involved in, and what it is that forbids principled behavior.

    Don't take a 'for or against' position on 'School Choice' as if it offered a choice at all. Recognize that there are only bad and worse tradeoffs, and don't be lulled by your passions into pretending that 'your side' offers true solutions, or even actual choices in education. Recognize that such policies are and have been used as strategies to progressively co-opt private, church, and home school education.

    Even so, it is a trade-off that may be judged worthwhile for some, depending upon their circumstances. And never forget that some might don a mask of ulterior motives, for those engaged in cross-purposes - be wise as serpents.

    Likewise, those who see the dangerous traps that the supporters of 'School Choice' are missing (or ignoring), need to stop obscuring or ignoring how what seems worse to them, is in many cases far less worse than the circumstances they're faced with here and now, and they shouldn't be vilified as if they had betrayed a choice that doesn't exist.

    We've all got to deal with the reality of where we are, and the real dangers we are all heading towards, without pretending that we're in or heading towards some imagined 'better place' that exists nowhere - from either perspective that is a dangerously Utopian vision.


    Responsibility is not encouraged by ignoring reality, only by recognizing it, warts and all. The bottom line is that the responsibility rests with us, and We The People will not again become responsible, until the ability to comfortably shirk that responsibility is eliminated. Period.

    'Compulsory Education must be destroyed'. 

    Keep that in mind, and in as many other minds as you can help influence.

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