According to some people, every time an American flag goes up in a classroom, the fascists have won. Such is the case with a new law that has recently taken effect at USF according to an article in The Oracle.
The Carey Baker Freedom Flag Act requires that every classroom in every public school in Florida, including post-secondary institutions, have an American flag displayed by the first of August.
Leaving aside the actual merits of displaying Old Glory in a classroom, what do you honestly expect a government-run education system to do? Remain neutral?
While they’re at it, why not add the Florida state flag as well? Of course, as a student, that’s not really up to me.
Private businesses post their logos in buildings they own all the time. Just look at how many places have the name Trump plastered all over them. As the owner of those buildings and golf courses, Trump has every right to put his logo on everything — from pens and letterheads all the way to toilets and trashcans.
It’s no different with the government. If you don’t want to see “Trump” displayed all over the place, you shouldn’t go to a place owned by the man; if you don’t want the flag posted in every classroom you’re in, you shouldn’t be going to a school owned by the government.
As long as taxpayers are chipping a large sum of money into the education system, they have the prerogative, through their representatives, to place whatever they want in classrooms.
The same principle not only goes for displaying a flag, but also for demanding standards and accountability.
All across the country, teachers, administrators and politicians have complained about the “unfair” demands put on state education systems by the federal government through laws like “No Child Left Behind.” But instead of avoiding the demands of the feds by rejecting the money, many states have actually been demanding more money.
Since the federal government contributes a large amount to education, it’s only natural that they get a say in how the system is run.
As it stands now, the fraction of public education costs paid for with student tuition is being dwarfed by money coming from federal and state governments.
“I believe that because we are a state-funded university, they felt the need to put (flags) in classrooms, just as they do in public high schools,” said student body President Bijal Chhadva, as quoted in The Oracle.
Education is not an entitlement, but a privilege that our society, through government, has deemed worthy enough to fund. In return, the government gets to decide how its schools are run and what is displayed in the classrooms.
The story also quoted USF professor Larry Leslie, who said, “I think there is a better use for money than that, and that our lawmakers ought to be concerned about issues in Florida that are much more important than whether a flag hangs in every classroom or not.”
Regardless of whether the flags are a good use of money — which they certainly are not when other needs are considered — it’s really not up to students or professors to decide, given that students don’t pay for the bulk of their education, nor do professors.
In relation to another example: I remember in the past when I would tell my parents that I needed this or that, like a new computer or a better television, they would always respond with something like, “When you get a job and start paying for things around here, then you can get whatever you want, but until then, live with it.”
The same is true of the relationship between students of publicly funded universities and the government that supports them. If you disagree with what government is doing with your education, start paying for all of it on your own. Otherwise, tough cookies. As my parents would say: Learn to live with it.
Adam Fowler is a seniormajoring in political firstname.lastname@example.org