"He," being P.J. O'Rourke, the bestselling libertarian humorist and political writer. Writing about education in the Weekly Standard, O'Rourke offers a cute, but countercultural opinion. But - here's the catch - it's hardly original.
Here’s his proposal: "Close all the public schools. Send the kids home. Fire the teachers. Sell the buildings. Raze the U.S. Department of Education, leaving not one brick standing upon another and plow the land where it stood with salt.
'Wait a minute,' the earnest liberal says, 'we’ve got swell public schools here in Flourishing Heights. The kids take yoga. We just brought in a law school placement coordinator at the junior high. The gym has solar panels on the roof. Our Girls Ultimate Frisbee team is third in the state. The food in the cafeteria is locally grown. And the vending machines dispense carrots and kiwi juice.'
Close them anyway ... Abandon the schools. Gather the kids together in groups of 15.4. Sit them down at your house, or the Moose Lodge, or the VFW Hall or — gasp — a church."
John Taylor Gatto, the New York teacher of the year, has been making the same argument for many years. As have scores of homeschoolers, unschoolers, and e-school proponents.
And a valid one it remains given the increasingly silly ways students continue to be dumbed down. Witness Flocabulary.