School Choice and Viewpoint Diversity, the Conclusion

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Heterodox Academy carries the conclusion of my exchange with Robert Pondiscio on the relationship between school choice and how classrooms handle viewpoint diversity.

I go through Robert’s essay point by point, but I would say this is the nut of my response:

Robert seems to think he is disagreeing with me when he says that “viewpoint diversity within schools, not merely between them, is indispensable,” but that is exactly what I said in my essay. My argument is that political conflict is undermining schools’ — especially public schools’ — ability to provide this. I support choice not only because it is necessary to serve students who have diverse needs and preserve a diverse society — because pushing all families into culturally homogenized schools, in obedience to what Charles Glenn calls “the myth of the common school,” entails the suppression of cultural minorities — but also because it is necessary even to preserve viewpoint diversity within the classroom. The attempt to force families that do not share one another’s beliefs and educational priorities to share culturally homogenized schools breaks the bond of trust between parents and schools, and forces parents into a permanent state of political war (such as the one we are now experiencing over critical race theory) for control of the schools that are forming their children. Teachers and schools will not feel safe allowing real viewpoint diversity to happen in their classrooms unless they know parents trust and support them. 

Of course, Robert also gets his innings against me. Go give HxA a click and find out what he has to say! Then let both of us know what you have to say.

I’m grateful to Robert for the opportunity to exchange views on this important – and increasingly so by the month – subject.

One Response to School Choice and Viewpoint Diversity, the Conclusion

  1. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    Perhaps diversity qualifies as a consumer good like ice cream or bread in that enjoyment of the good necessarily destroys the good. African-American children in the Hmong language immersion school will marry Hmong partners. If so, our discussion becomes an agrument over the rate at which we destroy cultural diversity.
    How can anyone have such confidence in his own preference as to overrule someone else’s preference?
    Barring a technological disaster, in two hundred years the whole world will be light brown and everyone will speak a highly mutated hybrid version of English and/or Hindi and/or Mandarin, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
    In the meantime, satyagraha.

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