In 1776, British economist Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations, a book that laid out the principles that modern economies have operated under for centuries (with the exception of the Reagan Revolution years of 1981-2021). In addition to arguing for a strong domestic manufacturing base and high taxes on the wealthy, Smith pointed out that one of the things that most directly constitutes the wealth of a nation is its educated workforce and well-informed populace (as a result of that education).

From Thomas Jefferson creating the first tuition-free American college (the University of Virginia), to Horace Mann’s advocacy of public schools in the late 19th century, right up until 1954, this was an uncontroversial position. It’s why every developed country on Earth has a vibrant public school system and — with the exception of the US since Reagan ended free college in California — most developed countries offer free or near-free college to their citizens.

But in 1954, the US Supreme Court upset the education apple cart by declaring in their Brown v Board case that “separate but equal” schools, segregated […]

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