France’s recently elected socialist leader François Hollande made waves with his tax policy ideas, moving France’s upper income tax limit to 75%. With prohibitive taxes on businesses and individuals moving in French businesses appear to be fleeing the country. However, the bizarre item that I would like to discuss is his educational policy, which provides a little glimpse into his philosophy of justice.
One item that Mr. Hollande has proposed as part of his new education program is to ban homework in the public schools. The theory behind this action goes like this:
- Children have unequal situations at home.
- Some children get more help and guidance on homework from their parents than others.
- Those who get more help on homework from their parents will benefit more than the other kids.
- The end result is some children who have learned more than than the others.
By removing homework from the curriculum, the government could remove that unfair advantage. Sure, children on average might learn less, but at least they would earn equally. It is an attempt to make life fair. If society as a whole is degraded in order to bring about this fairness, that is the cost. Equality over all.
Now, would the kids who don’t get substantial help from their parents benefit from having a reasonable amount of homework? It’s certainly debatable. Benefiting them appears not to be the target, though. The target is to knock those with advantages down to a low level where everyone else will be.
This trend is one that seems to be expressed more and more in the political realm: the greatest consideration is to make sure everyone is at a similar level. Be it removing “advantages” from school children or taxing the rich back to the same level as everyone else. If the cost is that the disadvantaged children have a little worse of an education, or that the economy is slowed and even the poor have less money, so be it. At least everyone is equal.
This is an absurd concept. My neighbor’s kids having the opportunity at a great education shouldn’t be my focus, but rather my focus should be to ensure that my kids have the best opportunity they can. Stop worrying about your neighbor, stop trying to measure the fairness of their life against others they see around, and start trying to better yourself, your family, and your community as a whole.