School reform and the health care debate
Chester E. Finn Jr. from the Fordham Institute links the two in this piece for National Review Online. Keep Florida schools and the FCAT in mind as you read it.
As is obvious, history, civics, and economics converge here. If you don’t possess a good amount of background knowledge in these fields, how could you expect to be even a knowledgeable observer of the health-care debate, much less an active participant in it? And if you are not knowledgeable yourself, what are the consequences? In the end, you could end up with some unpleasant (or perhaps pleasant) surprises. More immediately, you are — just as the elites say — vulnerable to rhetorical tricks, scare tactics, and propaganda, and you are apt to abdicate your civic role to others, whether you like it or not. Those others may be elected officials, or they may be interest groups and lobbyists. Perhaps they will serve you well. But you’re not likely to be able to determine whether that’s so, because you simply don’t know enough.
Perhaps you don’t need to know these sorts of things to succeed in college or the workplace (which seems to be the litmus test for today’s standards-writers and education reformers). But you really do need to know them to be a constructive participant in modern American life. Who is going to ensure that our schools teach them?