>> No matter what you think of Paul's arguments (and you >> have made your thoughts pretty clear on this point), >> he wins and you lose, so far as the public debate >> goes, and so far as any hope goes for substantial, >> permanent, beneficial change in the policies and >> practices of public education in America.
"...so far as the public debate goes..."
>I didn't enter this debate to win some fictitious >debating contest. I have more riding on this. I win when >my son wins.
Your primary, immediate concern is your son, as it should be. But if he is your only concern, why do you continue debating Paul? And why do you continue harvesting evidence on the distressed (I think, collapsed) condition of public education, especially in your own state? I mean, you have already figured it out, no? It sure seems like you are trying to persuade somebody else. Who, and why? Surely not Paul; you must have figured out a long time ago that you will never persuade Paul of anything.
Whether you know it or not, you must have a larger purpose. Your own son's interests are larger than his (4th grade?) math homework. Let us not dwell on your responsibility as a citizen of a democracy (a democracy that is declining in direct proportion to the decline in the active interest of its citizens). Consider your own career.
It is in your personal interest that there be many smart engineers in the U.S. You could not work, in the U.S., as an engineer if this were not so because if you were the only (competent) engineer there would be no engineering industry for you to work in.
Not long ago, this was the situation in India and China. Of course, it was much harder for the Chinese, both because of the severe oppression and because of the enormous chasm of language and culture, but both Chinese and Indians (in much larger numbers) who wanted to work as engineers had to come to the U.S. to do it. Now, with a growing engineering industry in those countries, not only do fewer of them come here, but jobs (and some Americans) are starting to travel from here to there.
Consider even the larger case. Why are you able to buy, say, a Swedish car or a Japanese camera, or Chinese-made goods of almost every description? After you have peeled back the layers of trade deals and international treaties, etc., it all boils down to the productivity of your fellow citizens. As that starts to decline, we will all become poorer and poorer.
Finally, consider the socio-politics of the matter. You cannot be a free individual in a society that does not know and does not value freedom. If you want to be a free man among 300 million people who want a General Secretary and commissars http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._executive_branch_czars you are going have a General Secretary and commissars, like it or not.
So yes, you win when your son wins, but what exactly do you think you are fighting for? If you think the fight is only about your son's math homework, you have lost already. I think that when future historians write the Decline and Fall of The Great American Experiment, they will mark the beginning of the end around 1968, when the teachers unions started to exercise real political power. That date and that event may prove to be America's equivalent of Byzantium's loss at Manzikert,