By David Tulis
When you mention disintegration, you will find people who bemoan the decline of the U.S.. They see in homosexual rulings out of the supreme court moral decay, in divorce statistics a gloomy prospect for future generations. They see bankruptcy and ruin. They shudder over surveillance, and offer lame excuses for it. My mother, 89, an immigrant from Switzerland, once was optimistic about America. But recently her attitude has taken a sharp turn into the negative. A regular reader of Judicial Watch, she utters choice words about President Obama and suffers from a sour outlook.
Disintegration seems like a dark hole. The term suggests disaster. After decades of economic integration into a national economy, Tennessee farms and cities face a reversal whose evidences are visible here and there. One bright beacon that shines over a disintegrtion in an important economic sector — the schooling industry — is the home education expo and curriculum fair set in Chattanooga July 19 and 20.
Before I tell about this event at Camp Jordan in East Ridge I’d like to get caught up on the headlines.
2 suggestive tidbits
➤ State government has opened a branch of an online university under the auspices of Western Governors University, a college credit program begun in 1997 that offers master’s and bachelor’s degrees in fields such as business, K-12 schooling, IT and health care. The program, pushed by Chattanooga-area Rep. Gerald McCormick, costs F$5 million. State government, as it ventures further into the Internet, is dissipating its base as a brick-and-mortar school monopoly operator. Eventually taxpayers will catch on. “Why are we spending millions for public school buildings, when much of schooling can be had online or via tutorial or even social clubs?” See what is happening? The PDF destroys the university. Only a few people realize it. The school is an outmoded institution from an era with books were rare and libraries tiny; scholars gathered around those who read and taught. With YouTube, who needs a state-run system supposedly filling a market gap? State government, as it acts rationally toward the Web, enlarges the scope of its irrelevance.
➤ Democrats in the federal congress are taking part in a disintegration of a different order. Their Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act that would create a park around federal junk left from moonwalks in the U.S.’ heyday. The bill would “manage the landing sites and ‘provide visitor services and administrative facilities within reasonable proximity to the Historical Park.” NASA and the interior department would reach an agreement “on how to manage the site, including how to monitor it ***.” Such proposals reflect a dreamy sense of continuity in things as they are today into the indefinite future. Discussing a moon park with monitoring — by the NSA? I wonder — seems wonderfully confident in the stability of the government and the sturdiness of its finances..
The real state of affairs
So you are wondering. Do I share the equanimity and calm of mind exhibited by Democrats in congress? Do I believe they are right, or do we have reason to believe that within the next few years (or maybe tomorrow) we face discontinuity, a marketplace recognition of our true state of affairs as an overleveraged government, an exhausted and frustrated populace and a cocky police state?
Look beyond the ideasphere of national economy to the free market.
In the field of education, statism has gone a long way toward centralization. Its persistence toward the top-down “common core” is powered by university elites, social planners and do-gooders on the public payroll. As that sector consolidates and becomes more internally consistent and strictly rational (and less human), the free market as represented by homeschooling has grown.
Homeschooling gives the lie to claims of teachers’ unions and official minders that public schools are filling a gap in the marketplace, an incapacity, a fault. Those arguments are no longer heard, partly on account of the modern state’s loss of credibility starting in the mid-1970s. The raisons d’etre of public schools have been forgotten by most of the participants, and the captive clientele of these systems in Chattanooga and in your town dully participate in the program, as if without hope for anything better.
The real state of affairs is that the marketplace is gathering strength to eventually bypass the school cartel, which in the end will have enrolled only the children of the most despairing and careless families.
The free market stands up
The homeschool expo is the city’s best picture of this marketplace challenge. The event is organized by CSTHEA, the area’s largest home education association at Camp Jordan. It will host more than 80 exhibitors in educational products and services, including games, software, art supplies, literature, books, programs and tutorial services. Workshops are scheduled in rolling waves on every topic from legal issues to the reluctant reader. I’ve been involved in the expo for years, and have been blessed to work with a selfless group of Christian men and women seeking the greater good — the public good even — through the home-based labor of education.
Of special interest. The homeschoolers are inviting public school families to attend so parents might supplement and enhance their children’s love of learning. Let the folks who’ve avoided the free market see what they are missing.
Sources: James Harrison, “Gov. Bill Haslam announces launch of new online state university,” Nooga.com, July 9, 2013
Peter Kasperowicz, “Dems pitch national park on moon,” The Hill’s Floor ActionBlog, Thehill.com/blogs