Pennsylvania’s Messiah College provoked some fierce controversy when it invited leftist professor Frances Fox Piven to speak during its annual American Democracy Lecture. During Piven’s appearance on Tuesday night, she was greeted cordially by students and faculty alike, but the overwhelming opposition to her message was made clear by pointed questions and well-placed boos.

Dr. Duke Pesta (left) received his M.A. in Renaissance literature from John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature from Purdue University. He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges, on a wide variety of subjects at the graduate and undergraduate level, including classes on Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, the Bible, Russian literature, and C.S. Lewis. He has been active in educational reform, and was instrumental in developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high-school students in Texas. He is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and the academic director of FreedomProj­ect Education, an online school dedicated to providing students a classical education delivered through state-of-the-art technology. He was interviewed for The New American by Gary Benoit.

Before 1980 there was no U.S. Department of Education. Before 1964 there was relatively little federal involvement in education at all. But let a few Republican presidential candidates suggest that maybe Washington’s role in schooling ought to be scaled back somewhat, and the New York Times, reliable barometer of establishment opinion, finds cause for concern. Why, “even Mitt Romney,” the paper frets, “now says, ‘We need to get the federal government out of education.’”

The lingering institutional wisdom when it comes to education is that increased spending will bring about improved results — even as history continues to reveal otherwise. For example, recent reports indicate that though education spending has increased 64 percent since the inception of the federal No Child Left Behind program, there has been little improvement in America’s test scores. Meanwhile, American schools continue to make little progress against other industrialized nations.

A recent Canadian study has confirmed what has been known for over two decades — much to the chagrin of public school officials: Homeschoolers perform better than public school students in the crucial core academic disciplines of reading and math.

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