How Public Schools are Like the Wizard of Oz

In his book Inside American Education, conservative economist Thomas Sowell wrote: “Too often American educators are like the Wizard of Oz handing out substitutes for brains, bravery, and heart… Too many American schools are turning out students who are not only intellectually incompetent but also morally confused, emotionally alienated, and socially maladjusted.”

In a recent column I asked conservatives why their children are still in public school. The point of the column was that subjecting children to leftwing indoctrination six or more hours a day five days a week for twelve years is bound to have an effect and not the effect conservative parents would want for their children. The column got a big response—mostly positive—but I did step on a few toes. Several conservative readers became defensive and claimed they had no choice but to send their children to public school. These few responded that the alternatives I listed in my column—private schools, Christian schools, charter schools, and homeschools—will not work for them, although none of them explained why.

Over the years, I have heard all of the reasons why conservative parents feel compelled to put their children in public school, no matter how inadvisable this choice might be. Now I am going to give my side of the argument and explain why conservative parents who knowingly subject their children to twelve years of leftwing indoctrination and academic tripe need to look in a mirror and decide what is important. I will begin my explanation with a quote from Pastor Randy Booth’s essay, “Rethinking Education.” Booth writes: “Government education, because it is nearly universal, monolithic and a self-sustaining institution has more power to create our worldview and character than almost anything else in America. It strongly influences what we feel and how we will do the work of the mind (even when we don’t realize its influence). This should not be surprising when you think about it. Growing up, each week we spend two or three hours in church and thirty to forty in school.”


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