Concerned parent Robert Small showed up for a school board meeting in Maryland in September of 2013 and was forcefully removed and arrested. His crime? After sitting quietly for over an hour listening to pre-selected questions and rehearsed speeches, he insisted on asking a meaningful question and pointing out some faults with the district’s plans for the school year.
The charges were eventually dropped, but his case served as a wake-up call to parents across the nation - parental authority over education has been severely eroded and we’re racing toward total State control.
As parental control of education has deteriorated, so too has the quality of public education nationwide. Graduation rates have plummeted dramatically – in some major cities, as few as 53% of students receive a high school diploma.
There is little doubt that our public schools began the slide into mediocrity when the federal government started interfering in education, roughly 60 years ago.
As Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul points out in his book Liberty Defined, there is “no constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in education… Ideally, education in a free society would be the responsibility of parents or the individual or local community, not the government.”
Traditionally, conservatives agreed with this way of thinking. But with the adoption of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, opposition to federal interference in education largely became a thing of the past.
Now parents are facing the national Common Core Standards, pushed by powerful lobbyists in 2008, and then buried in President Obama’s 2009 “Stimulus” bill. Common Core ends state and local control and uses a common set of standards nationwide.
As is always the case when the federal government intervenes in the marketplace, we end up with bloated bureaucracy, limited personal choice, and skyrocketing costs. The “problems” they seek to cure are made worse and every few years, they add more bureaucracy to attempt to fix the new problems they created.
So what IS the answer? As Dr. Paul succinctly puts it, “Competition is helpful in any endeavor. And this is true in education. The near monopoly control. . . in our public school systems is counterbalanced by homeschooling, private schooling, and education readily available on the Internet.”
First and foremost, parents – not government – should have full autonomy over this issue. They should be free to choose the mode of education for their children. After all, they certainly are more aware of the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of their children than the State ever could be. The State simply cannot be fully responsive to the individual needs of each child.
Even state government should have a very limited role in the question of education, and they are not innocent bystanders when it comes to overstepping their bounds and limiting parental control.
In order to achieve full educational freedom, we must ultimately end federal intrusion, but there is much that can be done now at the local and state levels. For instance, states can and should assert their authority under the Tenth Amendment and opt out of federal schemes like Common Core.
Campaign for Liberty state groups are working on Common Core Repeal in legislatures across the country. They’ve also been instrumental in thwarting intrusions on homeschooling rights, attempted expansions of compulsory and curfew laws, and escalating public school property tax increases, to name a few battles.
So What Can You Do?
Check out your state Campaign for Liberty page here to see if they are currently working on this issue. (Be sure to check back often for new battles.)
Spread The Word
If you’d like to assist Campaign for Liberty state efforts, simply click on “contact coordinator” from your state page, or send an email to email@example.com.