I hope that for me to post to this list is not a faux pas akin to throwing a trout in the punch bowl. But I thought a couple comments might be worth the time.
In response to Jonathan: I agree with his point that “government schools” has a negative connotative value beyond simple denotative precision. But the denotative precision is still the central reality here. If we called a “government newspaper” a “public newspaper” that would be an editorial statement in the other direction, as is the case with public schools.
But one place where he misunderstood my position is where he says that I want “a privately-funded school system that is very exclusive, educating only those who share his specific views . . .” No, actually I want my children and grandchildren to attend Christian schools, but would also expect that those with differing worldviews to establish their own schools as well. We already have a Catholic school, an evangelical Protestant school, an Adventist school. I have no objection to secularist parents establishing a secular school. All I ask is that they not ask me to pay for it.
In response to Bill: the “fundamental mandate” for any form of education is to educate. By every indicator we have, the government schools (there I go again) are failing to fulfill this basic mandate. And because they are not a market driven operation, they do not process criticism well at all. I do cheerfully pay for services I do not use, which is what a society is all about. But what about substandard services? Why should anyone pay for those? So I am not ignoring “the mandate” of the governments schools — but they are.
And in response to Carl: I believe he is quite correct in pointing out that we who have left the system are not the destroyers of it. Those who care most deeply about the education of their own kids are always the prime candidates for leaving first. They do so because they have concluded something along the lines of “not with my kid, you don’t.” They do not build alternative schools because they are trying figure out a way to spend all that extra money from their “lucrative ministries” that our local reporter found out about.
Thanks for hearing me out. Have to get back to my lucrative ministry now.