Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Solution To Any Problem

I always take a lot of heat when I blog about these sorts of issues, but I was too intrigued this story to not open my big mouth. I caught this on the evening news last night, but apparently, a group of teenagers was at the state capital in Hartford yesterday to support a bill requiring that Connecticut public school students as young as 11 be taught about health relationships as part of their health curriculum in an effort to combat dating and relationship violence and abuse.

Now let me be clear before I go any further. I don't think that this sort of education is a bad idea. But I do question 1) Why we need a state law mandating this or any sort of education and 2) Why children are so brainwashed into thinking that the passage of legislation is the ultimate accomplishment?

I've been through this first part before, but I always get so much resistance I figure I'd hit on this again. There's no reason for the state or federal government to set mandates when it comes to education so long as our public schools are financed through local property taxes and run by local boards of education. Who has a greater incentive to decide what to teach children than parents in their own communities. This doesn't mean the state pushes bad ideas on local school systems, nor does it mean that there can't be a role for the state in some sort of advisory capacity. But whether we're talking about school lunch rules, vending machines, or any aspect of the curriculum, what's the problem with leaving the ultimate decisions up to the parents and their local representatives?

We have a serious problem when adults believe and children are taught that the solution to any problem is to go to the capital and get a law passed. There's a whole lot of irony in teenagers going to legislatures to inform them about the realities of relationship violence in an effort to get the legislature to pass a law mandating that the very information conveyed to them be taught to the very teenagers who came to the capital in the first place. It's just such a helpless state of mind that this encourages, where the answer is always to be found in government. Whoever pushed these kids to go and grandstand about this bill at the capital should have been pushing them to organize and educate their fellow teens.


Blogger McMc said...

"Whoever pushed these kids to go and grandstand about this bill at the capital should have been pushing them to organize and educate their fellow teens."

By "grandstanding", these kids have probably gotten more positive attention and feedback then they ever would've preaching at their schools.

And you're also acting like these kids are "brainwashed". Why? If you read the story you'll see that there are kids from three different towns involved in this. To me, that sounds like they've been trying to push this stuff. And maybe they didn't press this in Hartford because they believe the government is the only answer. Maybe they did so because doing so would reach a bigger audience, it would attract the media and it would at least force people to think harder about what is being taught.

And honestly, the cause is nice but I don't see the need for this to become law. I just don't think it's fair to just automatically assume these kids have been brainwashed or know of nothing better to do.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous rose said...

Couldn't agree more LL.

Parents who pay their taxes in W. Hartford expect that the 7 hours in a school day will be used to teach what local W. Hartford parents want. They pay the taxes, they go to PTO meetings, they elect board members and they can move if there's a town that better reflects their priorities.

These kids shouldn't feel like they accomplished something by barging into every high school in the state and forcing locals to spend 10 hours teaching material that they believe to be more important than the material that the locals would prefer taught.

But I'm sure these kids are told they're being patriotic by engaging in the political process. I think brainwashed is a perfect word.

4:30 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...


My point is the problem with the mindset that encourages this idea that government is the best answer for every problem. You could be right and could be being hard on the kids, but my point remains the same- the news story was about students pushing for legislative action, not students organizing to do something themselves.

10:22 AM  
Blogger McMc said...

So Rose, is John McCain brainwashed because he dedicated his life to his country, became a senator and wanted to become president?

1:21 PM  

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