Ausfahl Declines to Reply
by Ari Armstrong, May 1999
I had reserved this space for Beverly Ausfahl, President of the Colorado Education Association, to reply to my article, Education Finance Debated at Forum. Ausfahl called me the morning of April 13 after reading a draft of my article and said, "Thank you very much, but I decline to submit an article."
I appreciate Ausfahl's courtesy in getting back with me. But I was naturally curious to learn why she chose not to reply. So I asked her. She said that I had "misrepresented" her views on homeschooling. However, Ausfahl did in fact say in public that she doubts homeschoolers receive a "consistent" education or are able to adequately develop social skills such as the "ability to work in teams." She reconfirmed her position on both these points by telephone.
When pressed to support her statement that I had "misrepresented" her views on homeschooling, she replied that I "over-emphasized" the issue. "I was there to discuss education finance," she said, not homeschooling. However, as I noted to her, both she and Linda Seebach chose to make public comments about the issue, and the matter is of great importance to the libertarian movement, which is after all my primary audience.
Ausfahl also complained about the "lens" through which I view the subject. I believe in free markets and a voluntaristic society. Thus, I tend to think that a market system of education would work better than the present government system. To extend the analogy, I believe that my "lens" -- my philosophy, if you will -- makes issues more clear and reveals needed improvements in the status quo. Ausfahl's "lens," on the other hand, views government coercion as beneficial to society.
I sincerely wish that Ausfahl would have explained why she thinks her philosophical views are more correct, and more consistent with the data, than mine are. Admittedly, many libertarians are doctrinaire and closed to outside argument. So I make every effort to engage in reasoned debate and to honestly examine alternative points of view. If those with opposing viewpoints wish to speak up, they may. I wish that Ausfahl had.