Here's an interesting proposal from Tim at who thinks that leftists need to infiltrate the conservative heartland of America using private schools. He does a pretty good job recognizing the principle numerical weakness of the modern "progressive" movement, but I don't think his solution of "Freedom Schools" is really practical.

First, demographics are against him. Not only are "heartland" areas more conservative, they also produce far more children than the leftist coasts. His idea to place leftist private schools in these conservative areas ignores the evidence that as people drift leftward they have fewer children. Even if the children his schools educate end up being more leftist than their parents, they'll end up having fewer kids of their own than will their rightist peers. It's an uphill battle that can't be won unless the converts of his Freedom Schools have more kids in total than the rightist kids who remain. In order for that to happen, he'd need to convert roughly two-thirds of this generation just to reach parity. Of course, the balance only needs to shift a small degree in order to produce some results, even if they aren't determinative.

Second, education is incredibly expensive. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, America spent $7,397 per student for elementary and secondary education in the year 2000. So for the approximately $150 million the Democrats raised for John Kerry's presidential bid, they could have educated around 20,000 students for one year. Except that it took much more than a year to raise that much money, and millions of hours of volunteer labor. Plus, most private schools are more expensive to run than public schools, which that number mostly represents. Finally, 20,000 a tiny drop in the bucket considering that there are around 75,000,000 Americans between 0 and 18 years of age.

Anyway, as I said, it's an interesting idea. Personally, I'm completely in favor of eliminating public education entirely and moving towards a private elementary and secondary education system that mirrors our mostly private university system. Our university system is the best in the world, while our public primary education system is one of the worst. Do the math. I think Tim is way off base in thinking that leftist views are underrepresented in public education, considering that secular humanism is the only religion taught in public schools, but I wholeheartedly support his proposal insofar as I think more private and less public education would benefit our nation immensely.

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