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MO “Government Schools” that Introduce On-Line Learning “Proof” That Competition is Needed

August 19, 2017

An article by Teresa Mull in Townhall, a conservative publication, asserts that a recently introduced on-line learning program by the Springfield (MO) Public Schools “proves why public education, even if taxpayers are paying for it, should act and be treated as though they are companies in the private sector.” She reaches this conclusion, in part, because their Superintendent, John Jungmann, led them there with his explanation for why his district decided to offer 40 courses on line:

Springfield Public Schools (SPS) is hardly acting altruistically. As the News Leader noted, it wants to attempt to “beat for-profit virtual schools to the punch.” Superintendent John Jungmann told the News Leader, “with private companies looking to expand in the state, it was important to come up with a local solution.”

As a conservative columnist Ms. Mull’s article is full of criticism for “government schools”, which, in her world, innovate only because of the nascent competition. Moreover, anything that takes children out of the clutches of union-dominated “government schools” is a good thing: This paragraph offers an example of the reasoning that girds Ms. Mull’s ideas about public schools:

SPS’s online offerings will still align to the state’s learning standards, which means they’ll likely be limited in what they can teach and how, and they’ll have to comply with the silly left-wing ideologies of government school administrators. But at least fewer kids will be forced to spend time in government school buildings, where time is often wasted and bullies cause unnecessary harm.

The article is worth a read if only to gain an understanding of the invalid assumptions that drive the pro-privatization and anti-“government school” movement. In Ms. Mull’s ideal world, where we are “…a nation free from government schools and odious teachers unions, wherein parents responsible enough to bring another human into this world are also responsible enough to ensure that human is educated without the government’s help” we would also be a world where atomistic students are “protected” from children who do not share the identical values of the parents, from exposure to the multiculturalism that defines the public forums in our nation, and from the chance to learn information that might be unsettling and uncomfortable. It is not the world that this “silly left wing” ideologue sees as viable or desirable.

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