Many parents, students, and educators are discontent with the current state of American education. Policies enacted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic left many students falling behind. Many parents want, but cannot access, schools that serve gifted students, use a classical-education model, or incorporate faith traditions into classroom practices. Families are also deeply concerned about the content being taught—in both public and private schools, divisive narratives are increasingly presented as fact. Some institutions of higher education, meanwhile, are less committed to free speech and inquiry and devalue the humanities. Large segments of the population now question the value of a college education.
Conservatism by nature seeks to conserve, but it is also important for a healthy conservatism to creatively meet the problems of the moment. When issues arise that are beyond the scope or outside the preferences of current institutions, conservatives should be willing to start new institutions. Sometimes the best way to protect and promote human flourishing, pluralism, and community solidarity is via social entrepreneurship.
Please join the Manhattan Institute on June 2 for a discussion with political science professor Samuel Goldman, education researcher Michael McShane, and education innovator Stephanie Saroki de Garcia, on how conservatism should approach building new institutions in K–12 and higher education.