End The Culture War. Separate School and State
A Florida bill restricting classroom instruction regarding sexuality in kindergarten through third grade has become the latest culture war skirmish.
Supporters of the bill say government schools have no business being involved in this type of instruction with young students. They make a good point. The use of government power to indoctrinate children in certain political and social beliefs — regardless of the wishes of parents — is a major problem.
While the instruction at issue in Florida is associated with efforts of leftists, the temptation to seek to achieve ideological objectives through education policy can be strong among conservatives as well.
The Ohio legislature is considering a bill similar to the Florida bill. Because the Ohio bill applies to private schools participating in Ohio’s taxpayer-funded school voucher program in addition to government schools, conservative legislators supporting the Ohio bill are vindicating the warning of conservatives and libertarians that allowing government to subsidize private school tuition would lead to government control of private schools.
Other conservatives are trying to force schools to adopt a “patriotic” curriculum. This is just as pernicious as leftists’ efforts to force schools to teach critical race theory. Students indoctrinated in critical race theory will graduate believing that white male capitalists are the source of all evil. Students indoctrinated in “patriotism” will graduate believing every bit of propaganda sponsored by the war party and will smear all dissenters from the “party line” as unpatriotic spreaders of disinformation from Russia or whatever country replaces Russia as global enemy number one.
In a free society, parents — not politicians, bureaucrats, or teachers unions — would control education. Parents would decide whether and when their children’s education will include topics like sexuality, race theory, and the evidence for and against Darwinism.
Parents’ demand that their children receive a quality education reflecting the parents’ values could be met by a free market if the government got out of the way. A free-market education system would provide parents with a variety of options, including religious and secular private schools, community-based schools, and homeschooling.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.
Ron Paul is a former Republican congressman for Texas's 22nd and 14th congressional districts. He also ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012. He currently chairs The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and hosts the Ron Paul Liberty Report on YouTube.