Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Pepper Snyder, American public education, last night's "Round Table," and Saturday's topic: gerrymandering.

   Gary Snyder's "Round Table," if you have not heard it, is a political discussion that runs weeknights on "Indiana Talks," roughly from 8:30 to 9. Last night I was privileged to be a guest, along with Pepper Snyder, who co-hosts a show on "Indiana Talks," and Andrew Markle, who is a candidate for Indiana House from the 99th District. At some point our conversation turned to American education. Mr. Markle is under the mistaken impression that Finland, to which many people look and regard as the leader of the World in education, has some sort of non-public system. Ms. Snyder became enervated when I said American public education historically has been good. She then said our public schools are bad. I admit, today, our public schools leave much to be desired. That is what happens when a government allows religion into educational funds. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment precludes expenditures of public monies to establish a religion. The Indiana Constitution even is more restrictive. I stand by the position I took last night. There are various ways in which we can improve public education in the United States---charter schools and vouchers are not a part of those ways. Universal public education is part of why the United States was so successful in the period 1940-2000.

   Saturday on "Civil Discourse Now" we shall discuss gerrymandering, that odd way of drawing lines on various districts by one party to ensure another (or "the" other) party cannot effectively obtain a majority in the legislative body or government branch in question. Gerrymandering explains our current shutdown of the Federal government. Republicans are afraid to oppose the tea baggers for fear of being "primaried."

   We stream live from 11 am to 1 pm. 

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