In his March 10 Op-ed column “Liberate schools from government,” Jeff Jacoby criticized the Boston public school system, arguing that government ought to get out of the business of educating students. As evidence, he offered the experience of the Soviet Union, noting that “Soviet citizens learned the hard way what to expect when government runs the farms.” He goes on to argue for the “separation of school and state.”
Jacoby neglects the fact that the Soviet Union was an empire run by an unelected, centralized authority, the Politburo. Soviet citizens had no ability to influence the decisions of their government. Of course, we live in a democracy, with the ability to influence government policies through the electoral process. Jacoby’s argument is based upon this flawed comparison.