Sarah Grether :: MED Managing Editor, MCPP
In last week’s Michigan Education Digest, I covered the story of a female student at Wayland High School who was attacked by two students because of her sexual orientation and advocacy of gay rights. I’ve been following the story as it develops and one student was expelled (the other moved out of the district and could not be disciplined), while both attackers are charged with aggravated assault. A third student who recorded the attack and posted it online will not be prosecuted.
Now, The Grand Rapids Press reports, after the attack, a group of parents established the Wayland/Union Safe Schools Coalition and are now pushing for diversity education for students and staff. Some parents are naturally skeptical and hesitant, arguing that the school is not responsible for moral education.
Lo, behold one of the major problems with government education! I personally believe that any good school will encourage students to think critically about those who are different from themselves, but by, more or less, forcing parents to send their children to public schools (because of the lack of any real primary and secondary education market: see this MCPP study if you are unfamiliar with market-based education reform) the state has created one of the single most inefficient systems to deal with individual differences, beliefs, values and preferences. Parents should be able to send their children to schools that reflect their values and goals, whether that be traditional or not.
Intolerance and ignorance are a societal disease, but education and cultural indoctrination at the point of a gun are far from reasonable or effective solutions.