We the People should fear and fight libertarianism and its faction in the Catholic Church that wants to get rid of America’s public schools so they are in control of what our children will learn.
The WSJ article by law professor Philip Hamburger asserting that public schools are unconstitutional relies on dubious assertions about the history of public schools. As a historian of education who has written about these issues, I disagree with his analysis.
Hamburger’s central critique of the public schools is that they were created by nativists out of fear of Catholicism and their central purpose was to homogenize all children and mold them into Protestants. He repeatedly asserts that the very idea of the public school was shaped by hostility to Catholics.
The earliest public schools, called “common schools,” were organized in the early 19th-century in small towns and villages by families who wanted their children to gain literacy and numeracy. The parents and communities who established common schools were not thinking about stamping out Catholicism. Families wanted their children to be able to read the Bible, and many wanted their sons…
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