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Stillwater Christian School - Billings MT
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Two weeks ago, schools were in the news for many different reasons. The Supreme Court ruled in a case involving schools and scholarships. The latest book by Thomas Sowell (Charter Schools and Their Enemies) was released. And Kevin Williamson wrote a commentary that asked the question, What Are Schools For?

The Supreme Court ruled that if a state like Montana provided scholarship programs that allowed students to attend private schools of their family’s own choosing, it could not prohibit the funds from being used to attend a private, religious school. In the process, it essentially removed the Blaine amendment.

As I explained in my commentary in February, the Blaine amendment was a failed attempt a century ago to keep Catholic schools from receiving any government funds. More recently, its inclusion in some state constitutions had been used to prevent any funds going to religious schools.

The criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision brings us to the focus on the book by Thomas Sowell and commentary by Kevin Williamson. They both make a point that should be obvious but has been lost in all the debate about education. The key point is this: “Schools exist for the education of children.”

If our goal is “the education of children,” then any school, program, or scholarship that advances that goal should be sufficient. Students usually do better in charter schools and private schools and Christian schools than in public schools. But teachers’ unions and education agencies don’t control those other school choices, and that is why all the critical comments.

Perhaps they should focus their attention on what is NOT happening in the public schools. The National Assessment of Educational Progress found that only a third (37%) of the nation’s 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading. Only one fourth (25%) were proficient or better in math. This seems to me to be a failing grade.viewpoints new web version

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