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Subsidiarity and our public schools

There was a time when our government(s) had more respect for local solutions, as indicated in this article from Accuracy in Academia.

Subsidiarity Due For Comeback

Malcolm A. Kline, November 27, 2012
Malcolm A. Kline

The Catholic principle of subsidiarity, whereby that level of government closest to the problem is the one best-equipped to deal with it, may be viewed as quaint but in public education, its inverse could be seen as disastrous. “The 20th century was marked by dramatic consolidation of school districts in the United States,” Tom Loveless and Katharyn Field of the Brookings Institution found. “As the number of districts shrank from 117,000 in 1940 to 15,000 in 2000, the size of districts ballooned.”

“The average district served 217 children in 1940, as opposed to 3,000 in 2000.” Their research is quoted in a new report by the Heartland Institute, written by Joseph L. Bast and Joy Pullmann.

“In a 2012 poll conducted by Braun Research, Inc., 37 percent of parents said they would prefer to send their children to private schools yet fewer than 10 percent of parents do,” Bast and Pullmann write. “Seventy-one percent of mothers and 56 percent of Americans favor school vouchers.”

“In the Washington, D. C. area, almost three-quarters of those polled support the local voucher program, and it had a parental satisfaction rate of more than 90 percent.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.

By the way, it should be noted that the principle of subsidiarity does not apply only to government, it applies to any person or agency who can address a problem of need in the community. The principle of subsidiarity requires that the need be addressed by whoever is closest to the needy person and able to help them. If the immediate family can’t address the needs of one of its members, they should look for help first among those closest — extended family and immediate neighbors, then the larger local community, and so on. This is why the principle of subsidiarity supports homeschooling. It is only because not all parents are equipped to school their own children that we need public schools.