Friday, April 18, 2008

The government and education

In the United States, education is outside the realm of authority of the Federal Government.* According to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Since authority for education is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, it is reserved to the people or the individual states. Notwithstanding, the U.. S. Department of Education has initiatives from Early Childhood to High School. According to, the Department "currently administers a budget of $68.6 billion per year—$59.2 billion in discretionary appropriations and $9.4 billion in mandatory appropriations—and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education." Another page lists the E.D. budget at $71.5 billion. Spending an unauthorized $71.5 billion of its citizens' money doesn't sound like following the intent of the Constitution. Sounds like a violation of that trust to me.

We have been so duped by the concept of public education that we can't see possibilities. Well, let's see -- homeschools, private schools, private grants, tutors, community education. Yes, the old one-room community school worked pretty well; at 93, my mother can still quote poetry she learned in the community school (although I think they had two or three rooms ;-D ). And this should tend to infuse back into people the idea that they -- not their government -- are responsible for their children's education. Christians should understand the Bible concept of parental responsibility. Part of that responsibility is the education of our children. That doesn't mean that we personally have to do all the educating -- but that we personally are responsible.

We Americans have consistenly maintained the need for an independent media -- radio & TV newscasts, newspapers, periodicals, etc. -- free from government control. Why? So we continue to maintain freedom of speech and and freedom of the press. So we are not required to repeat some government-approved version of the "facts". Why have we not sought the same for education? With government funding comes government strings. Government strings inhibit freedom. When our freedom to think is gone we are stringed puppets of the state. Oh, those government strings. Soon we'll be fiddling someone else's tune.

* Our Federal Government was granted no authority and given no responsibility in the arena of education. But there is legal room for state and local involvement. Then it becomes way or combination of ways best serves to educate our children.

A couple of quotes
"Education is not a right...Parents have a right to earn the money with which to educate their young. They don't have the right to compel the childless, the home-schooler, the private school userm -- nor anyone really -- to pay for public-education or school-voucher options." -- "Eliminate government-funded education!" by Ilana Mercer, March 13, 2002

"The U.S. public school monopoly is guilty of seven deadly sins: It wastes resources, discourages good teaching, inhibits parental involvement, suppresses information, stifles innovation, creates conflict and harms the poor." -- The Seven Deadly Sins of Government-Funded Schools by Mark Harrison (This article appeared in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on August 14, 2005)


Anonymous said...

IMO when most folks read history and think about the "school" system in pioneer days and on up to about 1950, they think of a system of poor transportation and communication, when compared with todays super fast transportation and instant communications. With remoteness being the norm for most Americans in the early days, they had no choice except to run the system of local schools in a manner that was hardly ever challenged by state and federal governments. Locals controlled their own and in most cases the local school reflected the local culture. This is the "picture" most unconsciously see in their mind's eye when thinking of "local" school systems. But we can never go back. The state and federal governments have intrenched, with unbreakable strings attached to each penny that is furnished by them. Our only hope, concerning the "local" school system, is to be good parents in teaching our children and grandchildren correctness, even when it conflicts with that taught in public schools (and be bold in doing so)...
Hoyt D. F. Sparks, SL

clinch64 said...

The government does seem to have a firm hold upon the education system, with no end in sight. There are some now who even advocate a national education standard. Can you imagine a few cronies at some think tank in Washington ultimately deciding what every child in America will be taught and ultimately molded by this? A sobering thought no doubt.

Then there is the concept of trying to fix a problem by just throwing money at it. This seems to be the mindset with all areas including education. But who is to say that your average classroom from 50 or 60 years ago, with only a chalkboard, paper and textbook, was not just as effective as any high-tech, multi-media classroom of today.

Ronald Reagan summed it up best when he said,"The best government is less government."