There’s something the U.S. government doesn’t want you to know. And it’s come out again in the new Heritage Foundation report on education. It conveys that the general public is increasingly dissatisfied with public schools, with a rising number opting for private education.
The report explains that during the 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions, 44 states introduced school-choice legislation. And in 2008, choices for private school were enacted into law or expanded in Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. And as of 2009, 14 states and Washington, D.C., offer voucher or education tax-credit programs that aid parents to send their children to private schools. But that may be short lived.
Despite the growing public preference for private education, Congress recently canceled the Washington D.C.’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, created in 2004 to offer students from low-income families in the nation’s capital an opportunity to join the voucher educational community. The law provided $14 million in scholarships to help pay tuition at a private school of their choosing. But no longer.
And why did they nix the program, especially when recent studies showed that students receiving vouchers since the program’s inception were academically 18.9 months ahead of their peers? (I read the other day that 100 percent of Thurgood Marshall Academy’s charter graduates are accepted to colleges). And why would Congress phase out a program that costs $7,500 per student annually, compared to the $15,000 it cost in Washington’s public schools to educate a child?
So its cancellation is not a result of costing too much, since it’s half the price of public school. And it’s not because of inferior quality, since the kids enrolled in the program were scoring higher than students in regular schools. There’s only one reason Congress canceled it, and it comes down to this: federal control and educational indoctrination.
Of course our government officials won’t admit to a blatant usurpation of our rights, but they will say their educational reform is seeking the good of your children. They will say it is necessary to establish common educational standards. They will say that we need to leave education to the experts and not to parents. And I fear that too many of us will simply give into the whims of the nanny state.
As I wrote in my New York Times best-selling book, “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America”:
The reason that government is cracking down on private instruction has more to do with suppressing alternative education than assuring educational standards. The rationale is quite simple, though rarely if ever stated: control future generations and you control the future. So rather than letting parents be the primary educators of their children – either directly or by educating their children in the private schools of their choice – [government] want[s] to deny parental rights, establish an educational monopoly run by the state, and limit private education options. It is so simple any socialist can understand it. As Joseph Stalin once stated, ‘Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.’ [Get a free chapter of my book here.]
What’s amazing is how hypocritical it is for Congress to make this decision. The Heritage Foundation report also conveyed that 44 percent of current United States senators and 36 percent of current members of the U.S. House of Representatives “had at one time sent their children to private schools.” While the Foundation found that 11 percent of American students attend private schools, twice that rate (20 percent) of the members of 111th Congress attended private high schools. And they want to remove the voucher option for private school education?
While Obama’s administration professes to have education as a top priority, it did nothing in March when Congress chose to discontinue the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Why? Because they all are in cahoots together not only to choose our medical care for us, own the mortgage insurance and finance businesses, and place caps on corporate earnings, but now they are aspiring to control our educational choices for our children.
Phasing out a federal program might seem appealing, since so many of us are crying for less, not more, government. But when phasing out leads to bigger government and less personal choices, they’re again revealing one more sign of a system gone awry. That’s pure and simple lip service to educational reform. The federal government seems fine with options to education, as long as they are controlled by them or their puppet-union organizations. Their educational tyranny is now clearly seen from the nation’s capitol to the “Left Coast.”
More proof of that came recently to my ears when I was speaking to a friend in California who has taught in public schools there for 30 years. She told me the school no longer begins its day with the Pledge of Allegiance, but a “patriotic observance.” During the presidential election, teachers were lined up in the library to take a photo with a stand-up cut out of Barack Obama (no other candidate offered). Without any prior consent or vote, the school union allocated $1 million to fight pro-Prop 8 (anti-gay marriage amendment). At the beginning of a faculty meeting, a teacher spoke up to remind everyone to vote against Prop 8, to which no rebuttal was welcome. My friend told me that at this point conservatism in any form is completely ostracized in her school – something that has radically changed over the past three decades. But aren’t we supposed to be offering education rather than merely Left indoctrination?
On Dec. 26, 1820, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Destutt Tracy about his vision for the University of Virginia (chartered in 1819), “This institution of my native state, the hobby of my old age, will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and expose every subject susceptible of its contemplation.” One day later he wrote to William Roscoe a similar but expanded thought, “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
The founders’ educational philosophy even included teaching on the Bible. As Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote “To the citizens of Philadelphia: A Plan for Free Schools,” on March 28, 1787: “Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read and write and above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.”
Noah Webster, the “Father of American Scholarship and Education,” stated, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
In 1789, during the same time when the First Amendment was written, then President George Washington signed into law the Northwest Ordinance, which states, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
That is why my wife, Gena, and I are on the board of “The National Council of Bible Curriculum in Public Schools,” which is about teaching the Bible as history and literature and also morals. It has been implemented in 478 public school districts and 1,975 high schools in 37 states. Approximately 320,000 students have already been taught from it. You too can learn more about the curriculum, why its teaching is constitutional, and how it can be implemented in your public school by contacting:
National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools
Post Office Box 9743
Greensboro, N.C. 27429
(336) 272-7199 (fax)
Our founders’ educational philosophy seems to me to be the charter of a true American system of education. But as we know, our nation’s public schools, and especially our nation’s colleges and universities, are the seedbeds of politically correct and leftist indoctrination. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. It’s a travesty that we have even come to this point that we have to protect our children from the public school systems by looking to alternative methods.
If you have a good public school, congratulations. Stay active in the PTA and attend school board meetings to keep it that way. But, if you don’t, for many parents the only responsible choice is to send their children to a private, parochial or Christian school, charter system or homeschooling. My wife and I homeschool our 8-year-old twins.
What I also think are good about private schools are uniforms. Just as in my KICKSTART martial arts program for kids in Texas schools, uniforms give students a sense of pride and empowerment. They increase the atmosphere of respect. And uniforms make economic class more of a non-issue, making rich and poor students indistinguishable. Not to mention the fact that uniforms do away with the style of youth wearing their jeans down to the knees and showing their butt cracks!
Parents deserve educational choices – choice is what this country was founded upon. Government control and monopoly of education or anything else is just another avenue for usurping power and control on the slippery slope to socialism. And it’s unbecoming for a republic like ours in which our founders created a system of freedom, choice and minimal government intervention.
Is it merely coincidental that the private choice of homeschooling was outlawed by the Soviet State in 1919, by Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1938, and by communist China in 1949?
Is America next?