Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

ACLU enables Texas textbook takeover

Jerry Stratton, April 16, 2010

I just received an e-mail from the ACLU today.

Dear ACLU Supporter,

Have you heard how a small group of ideologues in Texas are trying to hijack the process that sets the standards for the state's textbooks? They're out to impose one narrow point of view on the content of textbooks used by millions of students.

Why should you care? Because when it comes to textbooks, as goes Texas, so goes the nation. And if these plans go through, a handful of extremists could dictate their morals on millions of students across the country.

It’s no joke. I really was an ACLU supporter a long time ago. It’s painful reading their letters nowadays. They seem to have gone into the business of digging holes, jumping in, and trying to dig their way out.

What they should have said is “a handful of politicians and government bureaucrats could dictate their morals on the content of textbooks used by millions of students”. Because that’s what happens when you set up government schools. The problems the ACLU is seeing in Texas are true for all government-mandated public education. Government bureaucrats have their own worldview, and when almost all schools are run by government bureaucrats almost all textbooks will reflect that worldview.

The ACLU could end Texas’s influence tomorrow. All they need to do is come out in favor of transitioning from government schools to school choice. But they won’t: the ACLU supports government schools and opposes school choice. They like that the government can control teaching; they just don’t like it that the Texas government is more effective than others.

School choice would increase the profit that textbook makers make selling more diverse textbooks. Some of those viewpoints would be ones the ACLU disagrees with, but some would be ones the ACLU agrees with a lot more than what Texas is moving towards. The ACLU could even set up their own schools, and commission their own textbooks. One school or school consortium would no longer have to affect the choices of other schools.

Instead, the ACLU is vocal and active opposing any attempts to let parents choose which school gets their portion of education taxes. They fight any attempts to take away government control of schools. And then when governments exercise that control, they act as if it’s someone else’s fault. It isn’t. The Texas textbook problem is their fault. It is the result of policies they actively support. Increased state power inevitably leads to increased state use of power. They claim to oppose government attempts to impose religion; but they actively support giving the government the power to impose religion.

And the same will be true of health care if we go through with the health takeover: when most of the money is going through government exchanges, health care providers will target their services to the requirements of the government. A monolithic textbook purchasing system in Texas invites textbook companies to create one-size-fits-all textbooks. A monolithic health exchange invites the same thing for our health care.

  1. <- Trying the market
  2. Regulations make the rich richer ->