Challenge to pro-school-choicers

I usually argue in favor of school choice on the grounds that poor children should be forced to attend schools that abuse their monopoly power. But this article from the Philly Inquirer (via Power Line)

THE SCHOOL’S 1999 valedictorian has just been charged with having joined an al Qaeda chapter in Saudi Arabia four years ago and is now accused of plotting to kill President Bush, either with a car bomb or by shooting him.
And the school itself has been accused of teaching students to shun or dislike Christians and Jews, and once used an 11th-grade textbook that claimed trees will say on the Day of Judgment, “Here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him.”
You could call it Terror High – the Islamic Saudi Academy in suburban Alexandria, Va., near Washington – a more- than-1,000-student high school at the center of these high-profile incidents. The academy is funded by the Saudi government, a supposed ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum and a well-known advocate of aggressive anti-terror policies, said the school is like “having a little piece of Saudi Arabia” in northern Virginia. He claimed the Islamic Saudi Academy is a classic case of pitting free speech against protection from future attacks.
“It’s like the Nazis having little Hitler schools in America during the 1930s,” Pipes said last night. Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi, although the oil-rich nation is a close ally of the Bush administration.

I don’t think the operation of such a school constitutes a clear and present danger. But in the same way that we have laws against child abuse and child negligence, there may be merit in laws that protect children from …dangerous lessons? I don’t know the answer here. Perhaps all that is needed here is transparency. Perhaps we just need to make it easy for others to know what schools are teaching, but I don’t know that that is enough.

Perhaps we need to require that children be subject to propganda by the state on its own behalf to counteract stuff taught by parents. It sounds incredibly objectionable when phrased that way, but that is, in effect, what public schools actually do. And perhaps that is a valid social function. Certainly many American liberals don’t object to forcing Christian children to be taught about evolution over the objections of their parents…


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