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Halt-Private School Kid Behind Vehicle

I blogged last Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, that I was anti government. I am not really anti government, I am more anti-stupid government. Let’s take the public school system, for example. I think the school system of the United States, as a whole, is a big failure. Why do I think this? Simple. If you drive across town, you will see both public and private schools. It is my simple logic that if the public schools were more successful, we wouldn’t have 11% of American school children in private schools. When I was a child back in the 1950s, private schools were few and far between. Private schools were for the ultra rich back in those days. I guess rich people have never really liked their kids rubbing elbows with us commoners. When the schools got integrated in the South, starting in the mid 1950s the advent of private schools took off like a thoroughbred racehorse. I like to call these early anti-integration-bred schools white-flight academies. In my little home county of Talladega, Alabama, we had academies sprout faster than Bermuda grass in the spring. I really didn’t care for these academies because I played basketball at a public school, with Blacks.  That was the proper name for a person of color back when I played basketball. I don’t think Afro-Americans had been invented yet. It was tough to compete with the Blacks. Some of those guys could really play, and it forced us to take our game up a notch. But if you went to a private school, with all white kids, you could be a star. There was this guy named Billy Paul Johnson. I used to play against Billy Paul before integration and he was nothing really special, but when he got to play against all white guys, he scored a lot of points and got his picture in the paper all the time. Those pictures in the paper always pissed me off. Eventually, the private schools switched from being white-flight academies to congregations of people with similar beliefs. Religion played a major part in the development of private schools. The Baptists always thought they could educate their kids better than a bunch of Methodists could. I was a Methodist, and I always thought arithmetic was non-denominational, so none of this made sense to me, but the private schools flourished anyway. I think as the private schools became more financially stable and as social morays softened over time, the bulk of private schools finally figured out that education was the real reason for existing. According to studies performed by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), 11% of all students in America go to private schools. The study also says that 25% of the schools in America are private (this means that private schools are far less crowded than public schools). Another report entitled “On Thin Ice” states that people who have private schools in their communities widely believe  that private schools "generally provide a better education" than public schools and do a better job "teaching academic skills" and "maintaining discipline and order." So now, let’s get to the really stupid government part of this story. I can understand people wanting their kids in private school. After all, this is still American and you can do with your money what you want. I can understand big government wanting to control the schools and never really fixing what might be wrong, because that is what government does. I can see our leaders talking about starting a national dialogue about what can be done to fix our public schools, but never actually doing anything about it. So here’s what really burns me. Private schools are not going away. The kids that go to private schools have to go in and out of those schools every day, just like kids at public schools. At all public schools, city and county government s have established many safety features. Things like special school zone speed limits with blinking warning lights and crossing guards are the norm at public schools. At private schools (in the three states where I have lived), there are no special speed zones, crossing guards (other than students) or flashing lights. Why don’t local governments provide safety features for private school children just like public school children? I guess kids at private schools are less important than kids at public schools, or could it be a classic case of bad government? Or could it be that the cars around private schools are better equipped to keep from running over children. Isn’t there a feature on the new Lexus that senses a private school kid behind a car? I can hear it now when some soccer mom starts to back out of a parking place at a private school: “Halt, do not proceed. There is a private school child behind the vehicle.”