It's back-to-school season, but the country never got a summer vacation from the culture wars over K-12 education. The U.S. has become bitterly divided over whether its schoolchildren should be taught critical race theory, how they should learn history and whether "patriotic education" is a problem or a solution.
While education-reform movements of the past few decades featured a narrow-minded focus on raising proficiency scores and closing the "achievement gap" along racial and class lines, these new debates are a reminder that there's more to education than standardized tests. Schools have a profound effect on the values instilled in children.
Of course, in a country divided over what those values should be, an education in San Francisco is bound to differ from one in deep-red Texas. But ideally, schools would not be in the business of incubating baby social activists or molding conservative firebrands. Instead, they would cut through partisan battles, ensuring some set of consistent values and focusing on the goal of advancing truth.
Brandon McCoy is the author of the recent Manhattan Institute issue brief entitled "Classical Education: An Attractive School Choice for Parents."
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