Letters to the Editor

Beware of opinions columns that express opinions

Regardless of your views on the subject, Steven Horwitz's and Corey DeAngelis's school choice article offers lessons in what to watch for in an opinion piece.

First, authorship. In this case a free enterprise professor and a school choice director -- a clue their writing might not be completely unbiased.

Secondly, emotionally loaded terminology. "Government schools" rather than the more common term "public schools" conjures the specter of schools run by sinister Washington bogeymen. But in fact school boards are elected locally and locally accountable for their actions.

Thirdly, strawmen. The authors rail against a fictitious "state monopoly on education." There is no monopoly. Many children attend private, charter or parochial schools or are home schooled.

Fourth, vague or unsupported claims. Horwitz and DeAngelis state that "the most rigorous evidence" shows home schooling produces better results. But have they simply rejected contrary evidence as somehow not rigorous? They also claim "parents are more likely to get it right" but offer no support whatever, making it easy to refute the claim by asserting "No they aren't."

Fifth, twisted logic. Parents may have "superior knowledge of their children" but does it follow that they also have superior knowledge of how best to educate their children? By analogy, does this parental superior knowledge mean dad's better equipped than the eye doctor to check his kids' vision?

Lastly, lurking implications. The authors propose parents stop paying school taxes and instead use that money for whatever kind of "education" appeals to them. Madrasas for example? Trump University? The Cockamamie Commune School?

Opinion pieces are sometimes written to persuade you to believe as the authors do. Too often they employ verbal trickery. Let the reader beware!


College Station

Have to unlearn everything learned up to this point in life

With age comes wisdom?

When I was 20, I thought I was smart. When I was 40, I knew I was a lot smarter then when I was 20, so again I thought I was smart. Next March, next year I'll be 60 and I just realized everything I thought was wrong and I really don't know a damn thing about anything but I guess that makes me smarter smarter than when iI was 40. Why did the world have to change at this age?

I was just getting used to what I believed. Now I have to start all over again. It's gonna take me 10 years to unlearn all the crap I learned.