The Decline and Fall of Private Education
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
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. Today 14 states and the District of Columbia offer voucher or education tax-credit programs that aid parents with sending their children to private schools. But that may be short-lived.
Despite the growing public preference for private education, Congress recently canceled the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which was 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 for tuition at private schools of their choosing. But no longer.
Why did Congress 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 with the $15,000 it costs in Washington's public schools to educate a child?
So its cancellation is not a result of costing too much, because it's half the price of public schooling. And it's not because of inferior quality, because 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, government officials won't admit to a blatant usurpation of our rights, but they will say their educational reform is seeking to help 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 simply will give in to the whims of the nanny state.
As I wrote in my new 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.'"
What's amazing, too, is how hypocritical it is for Congress to make this decision. The Heritage Foundation's report also conveys that 44 percent of current United States senators and 36 percent of current members of the U.S. House of Representatives have "at one time sent their children to private schools." While the foundation found that 11 percent of American students attend private schools, 20 percent of the members of the 111th Congress attended private high schools. And they want to remove the voucher option for private school education?
While the members of President Barack Obama's administration profess to have education as a top priority, they did nothing in March when Congress chose to discontinue the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Why? Because they all are in cahoots to not only choose our medical care for us, own the mortgage insurance and finance businesses, and place caps on corporate earnings but also control our educational choices for our children.
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, 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 come to the 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. For many parents, the only responsible choice is to send their children to private, parochial or Christian schools or to home-school their children. My wife and I home-school our 8-year-old twins.
What I also think is good about private schools is the students' wearing uniforms. Just like in my KICKSTART martial arts program for kids in Texas schools, uniforms in private schools give students a sense of pride and empowerment. They increase the atmosphere of respect. And uniforms make economic class more of a nonissue, making rich and poor students indistinguishable -- not to mention the fact that uniforms do away with young people's style of wearing their jeans down to their knees and showing their butt cracks!
Parents deserve educational choices; choice is what this country was founded upon. Government's controlling and monopolizing education is just another avenue for usurping power and control on the slippery slope to socialism. And it's unbecoming for our republic, whose Founders created a system of freedom, choice and minimal government intervention.
Is it merely coincidental that the private choice of home schooling was outlawed by the Soviet state in 1919, by Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1938, and by Communist China in 1949?
Is America next?
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