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Civitas Review on Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill's views on choice and "the good of the public"

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Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill is taking heat for saying that he agrees with the statement that "'family choice' is, therefore, basically selfish and anti-social in that it focuses on the 'wants' of a single family rather than the 'needs' of society."

In a Wednesday blog post for the Civitas Review, the weblog of the conservative Civitas Institute, Jim Tynen writes that "you have to give credit to the chairman of the Wake County School Board for frankness in discussing what’s important." Hill and others have attributed that statement about choice being selfish and anti-social to the Association of California School Administrators.

"Some bloggers see this in the ACSA statement as far left-wing," Tynen writes. "But you don’t have to go that far; it seems to me to be a rather clear, if unusually candid, expression of what liberals everywhere actually think. They believe society comes first."

Tynen lists in his post the June 18 email message that Hill sent where he included the ACSA-attributed quote.

Tynen also includes an email that Hill sent to two people questioning his June 18 email. In those responses, Hill writes that he "chose a poor example to link the birth of the common school movement and compulsory attendance laws in Massachusetts with the desire to educate all children."

"My comment refers more to what many people believe — That our current generation is more of a 'me generation, as opposed to generations past which were more of 'we' generations,” Hill writes. "There is no way that any assignment process will please all parents. My point is that our task as a community is to look for the most good for the most children.  Hence, the good of the public as a whole.

Any effort to read more into my comment is a stretch and directs attention away from what we as a community should be talking about – Providing an excellent education for all children!"

Tynen writes that while Hill said it was a poor choice of example, "we can’t help but think that many liberals share these views, even if they are more tactful about expressing them."

Tynen questions Hill's statement about the assignment plan not pleasing everyone.

"Now, just looking at the assignment plan, no one expects any plan to satisfy all people," Tynen writes. "But the previous plan tried to give people the power to make their own choices, as much as possible. There is a lot of spinning about the new plan, but it’s hard to see it as anything but putting the district’s 'needs' first.

As in so many cases, that probably means families’ 'wants' will be a distant second. For liberalism, this is not about efficient use of resources; it’s about right and wrong, and those who claim families come first are just wrong.

Tynen writes that the school board majority's attempts to change the assignment plan "likely will fail to satisfy anyone."

"This may seem like a minor business, but it’s revealing nonetheless," Tynen closes. "We are sure Mr. Hill wants to do the best by the district. But he’s mixed up on what’s most important. And until a majority on the board puts families and students first, that faction is likely to flunk out in their quest to improve the district."

1340913799 Civitas Review on Wake County school board chairman Kevin Hill's views on choice and "the good of the public" The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.