Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Adult Conversation

It's hard to edify the public about the issues we face when one party in a discussion insists on misrepresenting the position of the other. Take, for example, this exchange between Democrat congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Republican congressman Paul Ryan:
Congresswoman Wasserman-Shultz is actually misrepresenting Congressman Ryan's plan. He has not suggested "pulling the rug out from under seniors." What he has proposed is giving people under the age of 55 the option of investing in the stock market a part of their income that would otherwise go to Social Security. Ms Wasserman-Schultz surely knows this, but she obfuscates the truth as though she doesn't want people to hear it for fear they might like the idea.

I wonder why it is that Ms Wasserman-Schultz, and most of her Democrat allies, are appalled by the idea of giving people the option of investing their own money in ways likely to produce the greatest return. Every retirement system in the country, except Social Security, is invested in the stock market. Could it be that Democrats don't like this idea because it would mean that revenue that would otherwise be available to them to spend on, say, bailing out union pensions, would no longer be there for them?

Who do you want to have to depend on for your retirement: the stock market or a government that is so far in debt that by the time you retire it'll no longer be able to meet its obligations to retirees? Wouldn't you like to be able to decide that question for yourself? People like Ms Wasserman-Schultz don't want you to have that choice.

Wave of the Future

A lot of people are taking their children out of public schools and are frustrated enough with the local school system that their investing the time and resources into teaching their kids themselves. It's a Tea Party movement, of sorts, for education.

They're tired of apathetic teachers, crowded and rowdy classrooms where nothing much gets accomplished, unchallenging curricula, and a moral climate in the halls and cafeterias that can best be described as debauched.

They feel helpless against administrators, courts and politicians who seem unwilling or unable to do much about the problems and they figure that they can do at least as good a job as the schools are doing and provide a better environment for their child while doing it.

And their numbers are exploding:
Texas Home School Coalition, an advocacy organization, said an estimated 120,000 families statewide opted to home-school 300,000 children this school year, an increase of about 20 percent over the past five years.
About 4.5 million Texas children attend schools in the public school districts.
I've had a lot of students who were home-schooled take the college classes I teach. Many of them are still in high school, but they're taking college courses and are usually at, or near, the top of the class. I recently had one home-schooled student, still in the equivalent of high school, take three different philosophy courses from me while also at the same time studying Greek and Latin at another nearby college. My point is that home-schooled kids are often very bright and highly motivated students, and they're giving up on the government schools.

Maybe this article (also see previous post) in the Wall Street Journal on the sort of books public schools are using to try to get young boys to read gives us a hint.

I suspect that home-schooling will be the wave of the future unless the government panics and steps in to make it impractical. That's a possibility and it's another good reason to vote against candidates and parties that stand against individual freedom.