Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The right to an opinion

EducationThis is a corollary entry to yesterday’s, in which I wondered about what sort of legacy we leave behind.

As I continued to read some old entries, I came across one in which it was said that I don’t have any right to an opinion on kids or their education because I don’t have children of my own. This is obviously absurd, but I’m going to explain why.

First of all, one does not have to experience something directly in order to have an opinion on it. This is why we have books and articles about things, and why it is possible to take a class and actually learn about a subject like archaeology, despite never having been on a dig. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp.

Secondly, as a taxpayer, I think I have a perfect right to let my legislators know how I feel about certain things concerning our public schools. This is why I wrote letters to my state Representative, my state Senator, and our Governor when Indiana was considering the idiotic bill that would allow the teaching of creationism in public science classrooms.

Thirdly—and this is related to the second point—as an American, I have a vested interest in our school system and what is being taught to American kids. As a microbiologist, I very much want our future leaders and researchers to be strongly grounded in science, rationality, and critical thinking.

As a woman, I am sick and tired of the attitude from some that not having children somehow makes me less of a person, one who is not entitled to speak her mind when it comes to education or what messages are being conveyed in our public schools. I am certainly not an expert when it comes to what one experiences when pregnant or when giving birth, or the day-to-day details of raising a child, and I have never pretended to be one; but when it comes to what goes on concerning the education of America’s students, I have just as much a right as anyone to voice my opinion.


  1. Beth, my wife and I are also childless, so, I hear where you're coming from.

    Far too much of our society bases opinions on the experiential. Both my wife and I work for a school district.We take our jobs seriously because we realize that the students that we deal with are our future. We all have a stake in education, not just those who have procreated.

  2. Agree! Hahahaha!!! Auto spell check! :-)

  3. You and Ken are among my favorite "non-breeders"!

  4. My first comment did not take so here I go for the second try! I completely agree Steve! My husband and I have one child. I think we all have a responsibility to invest in the future of ALL children regardless if they are biologically ours or not!

  5. Last time I checked, there is no intelligence requirement to breed, so the whole you don't have kids so you have no opinion is "ignorant".

  6. i'm a childless teacher- i think that puts a monkey wrench in the whole 'you don't have kids so you can't have opinions about education' argument.

    our collective children are EVERYONE'S concern. knowing how to spawn does not innately make anyone a good parent, nor does it make anyone an expert on education.


  7. I think Alaina makes the BEST point... it really is selective how people will claim that 'it takes a village...' but think that somehow having children confers a sense of superiority of those who chose not to have children... man, the holes that I could punch in that argument simply by mentioning the unwanted or unexpected children that come into the world...

  8. Another childless person here and unless all the families with children are going to live on their own island and have no contact with us childless folks, we are entitled to an opinion on children and the education of children. Just because we may not know anything about birthing babies does not mean that we are clueless when it comes to the well-being and education of children.


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