America's Education Deficit and the War on Youth

By Henry A. Giroux | Go to book overview

6.
Religious Fundamentalism, the Attack on
Public Schools, and the Crisis of Reason

RIGHT-WING FUNDAMENTALISTS such as former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum loathe public schools (derisively labeled government schools), often suggesting that they are wedded to doing the work of Satan. Santorum, true to his love affair with the secular ideology of privatization, prefers homeschooling. For him, homeschooling enshrines the notion of choice, suggesting that individuals are capable of assuming responsibility for educating themselves. But homeschooling and the notion of choice it enshrines are only two expressions of a broader issue: the government’s abandonment of people to whatever social fate or problems they may face—whether it be finding the best education for their children or securing decent health care. Actually, Republicans such as Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Paul Ryan dislike any public institution that enables people to think critically and act with a degree of responsibility toward the public. As stated in the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform, conservatives not only banned critical thinking but any form

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