July 29, 2008
In David Brooks’ column today, he writes that the deciding difference between America and the rest of the world until recently was education. An astonishing amount of progress took place between 1870 and 1950. But, as is the case with most things, the decline started in the 1960s. Brooks then chastises the Republicans for not sufficiently addressing this issue. But what was the federal approach to education – especially elementary and high-school education – before the 1960s? There wasn’t one. Maybe instead of coming up with new, one-size-fits-all “solutions” to our educational problems, the federal government should just get the hell out of the way. I don’t know, it seemed to work pretty well between 1870 and 1950.