Public schools are a cultural flashpoint in the United States. As with anything paid for with tax dollars, there’s always a fight over how that money is used, and there are few instances in which everyone involved comes out fully satisfied. More often than not, getting the government involved in something only leaves people angry and bitter, and that’s especially true when it comes to their children’s education.
The irony about a free country like the United States with generally free enterprise is the large, ossified local government monopoly when it comes to schools. The mirror-image of that is my country of origin – India – which was a largely socialist country until 1991 with an overregulated, small private sector, but which ironically had a free market when it came to schools. It would literally take years to get a simple landline telephone from the government (Single Payer Telecom, anyone?), but you could switch your child’s school in a day. (There are numerous benefits to a free market in schools, which the reader can explore in great detail in the book, “The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World’s Poorest People are Educating Themselves.”)
The lack of a free market in schools in the United States is a big factor in constant culture battles. Should there be prayers in public school or not? Should sex education teach abstinence-only behavior and encourage delaying sex until marriage? Is teaching Home Economics sexist? Should biology textbooks come with a label that says, “Evolution is a theory, not a fact,” or classes provide equal time for creationism? Should schools teach children that there are 72 make-believe genders? Should Howard Zinn and Nicole Hannah-Jones’ Critical Race Theory delusions influence history curricula? People from different perspectives can come to differing conclusions on various questions and issues, but there’s no denying that the Left has an outsized influence on schools despite the country’s political composition, in its current state, being close to a numerical tie.
Obviously, a big part of the culture war is guns, and a sizable portion (not all) of one-half of the country is anti-gun ownership and would like to see the Second Amendment repealed. I’m not making it up; polls show that. (Archive links).
I have a strong preference for a complete free market in schools with parents paying the tuition to the schools of their choice, with private charity and perhaps some government support for the poor, but that’s a pipe dream that’s unlikely to happen. So, as long as money is coerced out of taxpayers for government schools, all taxpayers – parents and non-parents alike – ought to have a say in what’s being taught in the schools. And given that at least half of the country strongly supports gun rights and the Second Amendment, the cultural preferences of those parents ought to be reflected by the schools their tax money funds.
Therefore, it is time for public schools around the country to start formal instruction on firearms. I’m not talking about Eddie Eagle here; I want public schools, which are funded in part by Second Amendment supporting taxpayers, to teach children how to shoot guns, including “fully semi-automatic military-style assault weapons of war” that Beto and Biden say don’t belong in our streets. The squeamish parents who don’t like my idea can do what parents who have discomfort with some aspects of sex education are told to do: pull your kids out of those classes on those days.
What’s good for the sex ed gander is good for the gun ed goose.
This holds especially true with the whole “we should regulate guns like cars” trope. New York already has unconstitutional training mandates coming up in the future, and New York State Assemblyman Demond Meeks (D) recently proposed yet another training mandate. This one (A0862) requires five hours of training and a certificate for buying not just guns but also ammunition.
In an interview with WCNY recently, Meeks said that he just wants to regulate guns like cars, and that people driving cars are required to go through training and pass a driving test. It turns out that schools already have driver’s ed, and if Meeks wants to add training requirements for guns just like cars, let’s impart that training to 16-year-olds in public school as we do with driving lessons.
Second Amendment supporters pay for the schools too, so why should our political positions take a backseat?