Tag Archives: education

The Administration’s Assault on Home Schooling: Part Two

In my previous post we already established the fact that despite the sequestration, having to release over 2,000 illegal aliens from holding for non-violent criminal activity and a myriad of other issues engulfing our nation, this administration and the Justice Department finds it necessary to go after a German Christian family living in Tennessee that has already been granted asylum from a federal immigration judge. If you believe as I do that this has nothing to do with the Romeike family, you’ll have to draw some conclusions as to why this particular case is so important. I believe this case has everything to do with precedent: An earlier event or action regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar actions. That is, there is something compelling about this case that the Justice Department would like to establish in the court system so as to have it on record for a basis of argument in future cases. So what exactly is the government’s position on the Romeike case?

A lot of this information comes directly from HSLDA Founder and Chairman, Michael Farris. He’s the gentleman who wrote the brief for the Romeike family. In his summary of the government’s position, the Justice Department is making three arguments to support sending the Romeike family back to Germany with the possibility of having their children taken away from them.

First: The government isn’t violating anyone’s rights if homeschooling is banned altogether.

Second: The Romeikes failed to show there was discrimination based on religion since not all homeschooling families are Christian, and not every Christian believes they have to homeschool.

Third: The Romeikes did not meet the standard of being part of a social group with “immutable” characteristics that can’t change and should not be required to change.  They said the Romeikes could choose not to homeschool and send their children to public school and then teach from home since their children would have only been in school for 22-26 hours during the week.

Michael Farris already makes some well thought out compelling arguments regarding the fallacy and potential dangers of the government’s position and I strongly encourage you to read his take here. It is not my intention to just reiterate what has already been stated but I want to look at the government’s arguments through the backdrop of Common Core or any other federally mandated educational system. And it’s important to point out that once your state turns over its educational sovereignty to the federal government under the banner of Common Core, it’s a federally mandated educational system. You may continue to have your “state” Department of Education, but that department will continue to morph into an enforcement arm of the “federal” Department of Education reporting directly to the United States Secretary of Education, currently Arne Duncan.

The government isn’t violating anyone’s rights if homeschooling is banned altogether.

According to the Justice Department, there is no fundamental right to homeschool your children. Put another way, the government is the arbitrator of the right to homeschool and as long as the government applies equal treatment in the way it pursues rights to homeschool, or not to homeschool. This is a shocking revelation by the Justice Department. Currently it is your decision whether or not to homeschool your children. You may decide to do so for religious reasons. Or you may decide that the scholastic standards in your district aren’t what they should be. Maybe the school your child attends isn’t safe. For any of these reasons, you currently have the right to educate your child the way you see fit. But only because the federal government is permitting you to, currently. If the government should decide that homeschooling is not in the best interest of your child for, say, not being able to keep up with the Common Core standards, the government has every right to institute compulsory education for the benefit of society as long as it applies equal treatment across the board.

The Romeikes failed to show there was discrimination based on religion since not all homeschooling families are Christian, and not every Christian believes they have to homeschool.

Again, Mr. Farris makes an excellent argument regarding the government’s lack of understanding that religious freedom is an individual right and it should be read. However, I don’t think this is as much a lack of understanding individual rights as it is a major push for collectivism. This philosophy is so firmly entrenched within this administration, whether it be collective salvation or children belonging to the communities, I believe the Justice Department is looking to win this case to set the precedent that there is no individual religious thought and unless all Christians are homeschoolers, no Christians have the right to homeschool. I personally believe this government understands individual rights perfectly and this government absolutely does not subscribe to this philosophy.

The Romeikes did not meet the standard of being part of a social group with “immutable” characteristics that can’t change and should not be required to change.  They said the Romeikes could choose not to homeschool and send their children to public school and then teach from home since their children would have only been in school for 22-26 hours during the week.

This is, in my opinion, the “media” argument. This is, and will be the “common sense solution” for compulsory government mandated education. It’s already being used in defense of Common Core! “Well the states get to choose what they want for 15% of the curriculum.” In fact, I love Mr. Farris’s take regarding this third argument from the Justice Department:

“This argument necessarily means that the United States government believes that it would not violate your rights if our own government banned homeschooling entirely. After all, you could teach your children your own values after they have had 22-26 hours of public school indoctrination aimed at counteracting religious and philosophical views the government doesn’t like.”

So there it is. While the Common Core issues are being played out by the states, behind the scenes the Justice Department, at the behest of the Obama Administration, is working to ensure judicial precedence is set to force homeschoolers to comply with compulsory federally regulated government education. We can’t have all of these parents pulling their kids out of school because of Common Core can we? It’s what the left hand is doing while the right hand is showing. That’s my opinion. If you’ve got a better explanation as to why the Federal Government is so interested in a Christian German family living in Tennessee, I’d love to hear it.

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All Your Children Are Belong To Us

A lot has been made of Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC Lean Forwardcommercial where she declares that “we need to break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents and families” and we need to “recognize that kids belong to whole communities”.

 

According Mrs. Harris-Perry, once we recognize the collective ownership of the children in our community, we’ll begin making better investments in public education. It’s great that it has been brought to the forefront of public discussion but my biggest issue with the discussion is “where has everyone been?” All she’s done is verbalize what’s been going on globally with our children for decades and in the United States at least since the mid-nineties. Make no mistake; this is a Common Core Public Education announcement more than an MSNBC promo for her show. And it sounded the bell for the final chapter in Marx’s ten point plan in the Communist Manifesto – literally the tenth point.

“10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.” (Emphasis added).

And so our free education is brought to you by, with your tax dollars, The Federal Government, Microsoft, General Electric and countless other “industrial producers” that have a vested interest in seeing that your children understand the world as the future they invision and not the God centered family centric individualism you think you have a right to instill upon them. The Melissa Harris-Perry video makes it fairly clear – you may be the baby producer, but the children belong to the community. And the community believes in education as a collective social process where everyone learns from the same exams and believes in the same social order.

You may be teaching God’s justice or equal justice at home but your children are being taught social justice at school. You may teach your children about the second amendment right to bear arms, as the Founders intended, but your children are being taught that guns are the problem with our society – not the lack of faith in God. You may teach your children that salvation is personal, that your salvation is between you and your God. Your children are learning about collective salvation. You don’t believe in global warming? Wait a couple of years and your children will be laughing at your “ignorance”. Evolution. LGBT. Abstinence. Every year my son spent in the Chicago Public School System was a year I spent trying to “un-teach” what he was learning at school until I finally just pulled him out and put him in a Christian School. And I fear that will not be an option with tomorrow’s “community” children. And I fear that option will disappear sooner than you may think.

While we’re focusing on the mostly federally centered Common Core program and whether or not states will reserve the right to maintain their sovereignty with regards to education, we need to keep an eye squarely focused Romeiki v. Holder case. This case will be the sole focus of my next post but the implications of this case the way I understand it and the very fact that the Justice Department finds it necessary to pursue it should be factored into every Federal Education program discussion – whether called Common Core, Race To the Top or No Child Left behind. It’s a case involving a German evangelical family who was granted political asylum in the United States from Germany because they were about to have their children taken away from them for homeschooling them versus Germany’s compulsory education system. Apparently, in Germany the children’s education has belonged to the community since 1938 and our Justice Department feels the need to spend the time and expense getting this family’s children back to their community. Who was running Germany in 1938?

For those of you needing a refresher on Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto”, I’ve taken the liberty of presenting an excerpt of some paragraphs that were relevant to Mrs. Harris-Perry’s video. I can’t help that his writing is as painful to read as Mrs. Harris-Parry’s video is painful to watch. Remember, both personalities start with hatred and envy as the foundation of their worldview.

“Abolition [Aufhebung] of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital. Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.

The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.”

America’s Moral Morass

America, since it’s inception has been the most moral country on earth. It still is; however, the gap between moral and immoral societies is constantly growing narrower. America is rapidly losing its position of moral leadership among the nations of the world.  As is the case in most examples of America’s decline, in order to understand the reasons and antecedents, we have to go back and look at how and when the decline began and trace its progress through history.

In colonial America, public morals were set by the local churches in most cases. The early churches in America were usually at least nominally Christian. The Churches and the pastors of those churches, held enormous sway in the life of the community. In most cases, the moral standards of the Church were reinforced by law, with each state having its own established church that provided moral guidance to its lawmakers. While the colonies were not, in any true sense, theocracies, Churches and their clergy were nevertheless, the most powerful influence in most colonies.

The old adage, “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely,” applies to preachers as well as politicians.  In Christendom, whenever political power is concentrated in the hands of religious leaders, it eventually ends up being just as tyrannical as when it is concentrated in the hands of politicians. The Inquisitions of Medieval Europe and the Salem witch trials in Colonial America are two prime examples. Lesser evils of the church-state relationship during colonial times were evident in laws requiring compulsory church attendance and taxation to support the clergy of the established churches.

The abuses of power by the churches in Colonial America were the moving force behind the third paragraph of Article VI in the Constitution.

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Emphasis added)

America was the first nation in history to establish a clear distinction between established religion and government. This paragraph in the Constitution and the First Amendment abolished forever the possibility of religious tyranny by American law. However, it is a huge mistake to believe that the Founders were attempting to eradicate the influence of religion in America’s political and cultural life. Neither were they attempting to do away with the influence of Christianity over the moral standards used in governing.

Christian diversity was widespread in the Colonies. Along with that diversity there was also a widespread intolerance for those whose views were at variance with the views of the established church in each Colony. It was this problem the Founders were attempting to address in the Constitution. What they feared most was the establishment of a particular church as the “national religion” and the divisions and intolerance such an establishment would naturally engender.

The Founders were attempting to balance the influence of religion and government, not to exalt one at the expense of the other. Of necessity, government and religion must coexist in this life. Government to maintain order and protect liberty; religion to provide the moral underpinnings for society.  It was this truth Christ was alluding to when he advised the disciples to “render unto Cesar that which is Cesar’s and unto God that which is God’s”. The U.S. Constitution establishes the most effective balance between the two yet devised.

There were certain precepts that were shared by the Founders and a Majority of the American people. They were the sovereignty and providence of God over the affairs of nations, and the moral authority of the Bible. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence declared, “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” Benjamin Franklin said, “God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid…I firmly believe this”? George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

I could go on, but the evidence from the writings and utterances of the Founders is overwhelming that today’s divide between our government and religion would never be imagined nor condoned by them. For over one hundred and fifty years the balance established by the Constitution between governing and a reverence for God, gave us religious peace in America. Communities were free to publicly express their devotion to God in any way they chose. Governments at all levels displayed deference to the religious sensitivities of their citizens. Today there is an unmistakable animosity on the part of government toward religion in general and Christianity in particular. What Happened?

The precepts of socialism are antithetical to the understanding of the Founders concerning the relationship between government and religion. During the last half of the nineteenth century socialism began to infiltrate the American consciousness. Over the next hundred years the influence of socialism spread throughout the institutions of government, culminating in the changed moral standards that came about in the last half of the twentieth century. A secular moral code began to replace the moral code of the Bible, only to be replaced in turn by the amoral code of socialism. A historical reliance on the providence of God began to be slowly replaced by a reliance on government.

“Do your own thing” and “if it feels good, do it” became the watchwords of the 1960s and ’70s, leading to the destruction of families and the destabilization of society. “Free love” and “open marriage” became relatively commonplace. The most destructive trend of that era was the replacement of churches as the arbiters of morality, with our education system. This trend was further aggravated by the gradual domination of the system by the federal government.

Our children no longer learn about right and wrong in Sunday School; now they learn about it in public school. At the same time public education is replacing the Church and parents as the source of moral teaching, educators are prohibited from favoring one code over another. Instead, children are taught that one person’s morality is just as valid as another, and it is up to them to choose the one that “feels” best for them. Any attempt to resist this trend is branded as an “attempt to ram religion down the throat” of others.

As these young creatures of the NEA grow up and become parents themselves the pattern is perpetuated. With each new generation it becomes more difficult to correct the errors of the previous one. That, “in a nutshell” is why America seems to be mired in a moral morass and why our ruling class seems to be devoid of such common moral values as honesty and integrity. If we are to return our country back to its founding principles and a Constitutional government, one of the first things we have to accomplish, is to return the elementary and secondary education system back to parents and the community and the teaching of morality back to the parents and the churches, to be reinforced by education under the watchful eye of the community.

Cross posted at “The Constitution Sentinel”

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More Money For Education?

minute-man-2-lithoAccording to the U.S. Department of Education, state, local and federal spending on education amounts to a whopping one trillion dollars per year.  That’s approximately $19,000 per student. At the same time, taxpayers are continuously being lectured about the need for more funding.  12% of educational funding comes from the federal government, the balance from, state and local coffers.

Even though local taxpayers provide most of the funding the Feds call the tune.  The Department of Education’s Mission Statement is to “foster education excellence”, and “ensure equal access.”   …“[T]he Department pursues its twin goals of access and excellence through the administration of programs that cover every area of education and range from preschool education through postdoctoral research.”

What are we getting for our money?  We have all heard the stories of High School graduates who cannot read their own diplomas and college freshmen who require remedial courses in reading and math before they are able to do college level work.  A recent Rasmussen poll gives us further insight into the success of our education system.

According to the latest Rasmussen poll, just 53% of America’s adults believe capitalism to be better than socialism.  20% believe socialism is better, and 27% are not sure which is best.  Among adults under thirty which would include college students and recent graduates, only 37% prefer capitalism and 30% are not sure.  As the demographics increase in age the percentage that believe capitalism to be better increases.  Only 13% of adults over 40 prefer socialism as an economic system.

The natural process of ageing would no doubt account for some of the change in attitude as people grow older and wiser.  However, the low number of twenty-somethings who favor capitalism is a good indicator of the quality of our education efforts in civics, economics and history.  The Rasmussen poll numbers do, however, indicate success in accomplishing the primary goal of America’s modern education, to prepare future generations for the acceptance of socialism and statism.

It is not by accident that almost half of the American public does not know the difference between capitalism and socialism or what those differences mean to our survival as a free nation.  For more than a half-century, the Department of Education under the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been systematically downplaying the teaching of history, economics, and civics in public schools.  Modern curricula dealing with these subjects are presented with an anti-capitalist, anti-American, pro-socialist and pro-statist bias.

Under our Constitution the Federal government has no role in education, leaving it to the people and the states.  Historically, education has always been the responsibility of state and local governments in conjunction with parents.  That arrangement continues today, but with a twist.  States are still given the responsibility of administering education but, only under the standards and directions of the Federal government.

During the sixties and seventies we were inundated with “scientific” teaching fads that focused more on methodology than results.  Teaching is not a science but an art.  Just as an art school cannot produce successful artists without talented students, teacher’s colleges cannot produce successful teachers without students endowed with a talent for teaching.  They can however, stifle the natural talents of teachers by imposing a standard methodology.

One of the most important challenges we have today is to wrest control of the education of our children from the hands of Washington bureaucrats and the unions.   We may face insurmountable odds in accomplishing this in the short term.  However, there is no advantage in accepting the status quo, and there is no downside in demanding parent and local control of primary and secondary education free from the coercion of the Federal Government.