Do you feel like public schools are significantly better today than they were in early 2009? Worse? About the same? How about from eight years earlier? Rod Paige, Margaret Spellings, the outgoing education secretary John King, Clinton’s pick Richard Riley – they’re all nice, accomplished, well-meaning people who have tackled what is perhaps the country’s biggest problems… and had little impact on the status quo. “A Nation At Risk” came out in 1983, declaring , “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves.” How much progress have we really made in the past three decades? Indisputably we’ve made some, but… enough, considering the expense and efforts?
Eleven years after the first Seceders came to Holland, one-third of the Dutch community broke off from the Reformed Church in America and created the Christian Reformed Church. What really solidified this split were disagreements over education, according to James D. Bratt, a professor emeritus at Calvin College and the author of Dutch Calvinism in Modern America . Members who stayed in the Reformed Church in America supported public schools; Christian Reformed Church members believed education was solely the responsibility of families—and explicitly not the government—and sent their kids to religious schools. Many church members became staunch opponents of unions by the time New Deal-era legislation protected the right to strike and allowed for collective bargaining, which they viewed as socialist intrusions that diminished the authority of the church and contributed to bigger government.