Bruce Walker
March 14, 2018

The left loves public policy debates that force conservatives on the defensive. So every episode of public school shootings inevitably brings the squawking parrots of leftism to an empty argument about gun control. What this means is that conservatives focus on responding to the rhetoric of leftism instead of forcing the left to confront its own failures.

There is a perfect cure for the sort of school violence that has dominated the headlines so often over the last decade. Provide parents with the financial incentives and the power to decide how their children will be educated. So if parents chose to send their children to private schools, parochial schools, and other religious schools, the federal government would contribute an amount of money equivalent to what it has been paying public schools for the education of a student.

In case no one noticed, these private schools seem rarely to have the sort of shootings public schools seem incapable of stopping. Private schools can control their students and adopt effective and reasonable policies to make students safe. The private sector always operates more rationally and sensibly than statist institutions, and few of these statist institutions are as pathetically inept as public schools

Not only have public schools proven incapable of stopping murderers with guns, but public schools are breeding grounds for gang violence, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and a depressingly long list of social problems. The real purpose of public schools, which is accomplished quite well, is the indoctrination of leftism mythology and mendacity into the unguarded minds of children. Social engineering, not education, is the mission of public schools, and it has been for many decades.

School violence presents no negative consequences, really, for those who run public schools. Parents who are not rich have no real alternative to public education without serious financial hardship. Allowing parents to use for private schools the amount of money per student that would be used by public schools from the federal government would immediately create a marketplace of educational choice. Public schools that do not protect or educate children would find the amount of money they receive from the federal government dropping dramatically.

This reform ought to provide parents with a choice not simply between private schools and public schools. Parents who homeschool their children and whose children pass competency tests in those areas of study dealing with necessary skills should be able to receive from the federal government an amount of money equal to what the public school district receives per student from the federal government. After all, it is education that is the goal, isn't it? How many education-related shootings have there been among homeschooled children?

If parents had a financial benefit to gain from teaching their own children to offset the loss of a second income or a strong subsidy for private schooling, then more and more parents would choose this way of educating their children. As more and more parents opted for homeschooling or private schooling, public school student populations would begin to shrink like drops of water on a hot sidewalk. More and more private schools of different varieties would blossom, providing what leftists always tout as vital but always dismiss in practice: diversity.

This, then, ought to be the relentless message of conservatives: the problem with gun violence in public schools is the public education system itself. Institutionalized public education is an anachronism and a catastrophe. It breeds social problems and crime. Those who truly care about this ought to recognize the danger of institutionalized public schooling and ought to support the privatization and de-institutionalization of education.

If leftists really care about gun violence in public schools, then they will support this change, but of course, all leftists ever really care about is power.

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