Chuck Norris’ latest column for the Worldnetdaily is entitled “Would Jefferson approve today’s public education?” But in fact, there isn’t a word in the column about that subject. All he does is offer a bunch of quotes from Thomas Jefferson about the importance of an educated citizenry in a democracy.
But is today’s public education what he and other founders were imagining it could be back then?
The answer is: Yes and no.
Yes, Jefferson foresaw that public education would teach a broad range of basics. But, no, he didn’t imagine academia would be run by the federal government or that it would turn into limited indoctrination camps for political correctness and secular progressivism.
There was nothing more important for Thomas Jefferson than the education of the public. For him, the preservation of our very republic was dependent upon it.
As far back as 1787, he wrote to James Madison: “Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.”
And nearly 25 years later in 1810, after two terms as president, he penned, “No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free and good government.”
And it goes on and on like that, with quotes from Jefferson about how important education is and not a single sentence that actually addresses the question in the headline. He promises more in his next column, but I wonder if he will mention that when Jefferson created the University of Virginia he quite intentionally did not include a theology department. I’m guessing not.