One of the most regrettable outcomes of government schooling is constant, wrenching conflict as diverse people are forced to fight over the uniform school system they all have to support. Sadly -- and in complete opposition to the foundational American value of individual liberty -- one of the few ways these conflicts can be resolved is by crushing groups with insufficient political power, keeping them from getting the education they want for their children.
Unfortunately, making it easier to do exactly that seems to have motivated at least some people in Kansas to support their state's adoption of federally backed "Common Core" standards. Under the guise of removing politics from public schooling -- meaning, crippling the ability of those who disagree with them to fight back -- some supporters are lauding the standards especially if they are extended to science. Then, the state wouldn't have to deal with the highly divisive question of how to teach human origins. The assumption, it seems, is that by adopting national standards evolution skeptics in Kansas would be overruled not just by evolution supporters in Kansas, but, de facto, supporters nationwide:
The movement toward national standards — the Kansas State Board of Education joined the program earlier this month — comes with plenty of advantages, said Rick Doll, superintendent of the Lawrence school district.
Among them is snuffing the likelihood of political flare-ups, such as the off-and-on debate over whether Kansas should de-emphasize the teaching of evolution in public schools.
“What we teach in school should not be dependent on the political leanings of a governing body,” Doll said. “With this, there’s less chance of that happening.”
Whether you are the most zealous creationist or the ardent Darwinist, this thinking should frighten you.
For one thing, having national standards will only push the fighting to the national level, threatening to tear apart the entire country with conflicts that could have been contained within state or district boundaries. Moreover, the fighting is likely to be even more intense, because with national standards there's nowhere to go but out of the country if you lose. And that raises what should be the most alarming point for national-standards advocates: What happens if and when you are not in power? Then everyone will get stuck with not only what you dislike, but what, if you are right, might even be educationally or socially dangerous. But you'll only have yourself to blame. After all, you'll have built the nuke suddenly pointing at you.