Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/5/2010 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Parental choice in education is right for our children, right for our parents and right for our Nation.

Governor Christie is a practicing Catholic. He and his wife have chosen to send their children to Catholic Schools. They can also afford to do so. However, he is mindful of the basic injustice involved when other parents are trapped by a system which does not allow them to do what is best for their children. "A single mother in Newark working two jobs to keep a roof over her child's head should have no less ability to make that choice than my wife and I had."

Governor Christopher J. 'Chris' Christie.

Governor Christopher J. "Chris" Christie.

Article Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/5/2010 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Since his election as the first Republican Governor of New Jersey in twelve years, Catholic Governor Christopher J. "Chris" Christie has been making news! He was the keynote speaker at the American Federation of Children National Policy Summit Dinner in Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 3, 2010. Once again he surprised observers with his candor - and his refreshing willingness to shake up the "same old/same old" approach to politics and public policy.

He strongly endorsed parental choice in education or what is often called "School Choice".

He told those gathered for the Summit: ". Parents and children deserve a choice.parents and children who are being failed by a public school system who's costs are exorbitant, and who's results are insulting, deserve a choice.  And you know we don't have to look far around the country from where we are right now to know that voucher programs and experiments in school choice are working that they're producing results.  "You know here in D.C... those in that program are now reading 19 months ahead of their colleagues who are outside that program.  This isn't a coincidence. We know that it's not a coincidence.  We know that there (are) over five million children trapped in over ten thousand failing public schools around America - and I use the word trapped - and I use it directly.  They are trapped by an educational bureaucracy.  They are trapped by a selfish, self-interested, greedy, school union that  cares more about putting money in their own pockets and in the pockets of members than they care about educating our most vulnerable and needy children around the country. ." Now, those kinds of strong statements not only show courage, for which the Governor should be commended, they also - and sadly - present an accurate assessment of the experience of too many chidren and parents. The Governor is calling for a voucher system in New Jersey which will allow all parents the same choice that he and his wife had; to choose where to send their children to school from among the full array of options, public, private, charter, private or parochial. Governor Christie is a practicing Catholic. He and his wife have chosen to send their children to Catholic Schools. They can also afford to do so. However, he is mindful of the basic injustice involved when other parents are trapped by a system which does not allow them to do what is best for their children. He was equally frank in addressing this reality, "A single mother in Newark working two jobs to keep a roof over her child's head should have no less ability to make that choice than my wife and I had." "School Choice", or more accurately, "Parental Choice" - since parents are the ones who should make the decision - is one of the areas where the claim of concern for children expressed in some sectors of the educational establishment rings hollow. The unwillingness of those in charge of the Federal Educational Bureaucracy to consider this approach at a time when we all know the educational system is broken exposes the difference between rhetoric and reality. Parental Choice in education is an important issue - one which needs to come to the forefront in the fall election campaigns. Hopefully, Governor Christie has opened the door for just such a needed National debate.  For those who will lead the coming debate, I have a suggestion. Rather than focus on the word "School" - which is then used to arouse a "public" school vs. "private" school debate - we should use the term "Parental Choice". After all, it is Parents who are the first teachers of their children and the family is the first school. That is really where the debate should focus. To support "Parental Choice in Education" is to affirm that Parents are the ones who should be able to make the choice of how to best extend their own teaching mission. The proper role of Government is to support the first government in the home. We have turned the equation which made for a wonderful experiment in ordered liberty and limited government in this Nation on its head. Good governance recognizes the first government of the family and follows the principle of subsidiarity by deferring to the smallest governing unit. The current overly federalized approach to education is failing, on many fronts, and our children are too often its casualties. The teaching of the Catholic Church on this issue of the primacy of parents in the educational mission is not only clear; it is refreshingly forthright and helpful. If understood properly it can provide insights for our National Educational policy which can actually promote the real common good and not just mouth the phrase. Governor Christie is right on this position. His courageous stance should become one of the primary issues in the coming fall election campaigns. The primacy of marriage - and the family founded upon it - as the first cell of society, the first church, first government, first school, first hospital, first economy, and the first mediating institution of the broader society is at the heart of Catholic Social Thought. It should also lay the foundation for building a truly just public policy in our Nation. A just and efficient philosophy of government is predicated upon the understanding that the family is the first government and that all other government must first be at its service. In his marvelous apostolic exhortation on the family entitled "The Role of the Christian family in the Modern World" (Familiaris Consortio) the Venerable Pope John Paul II affirmed the social and political role of the family and called for the development of a "family politics". Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will should embrace this challenge to develop just such a "family politics". We desperately need it.  It is time to help people understand that what is really behind the issue of Parental Choice in education - the recognition of the family as the first school and first vital cell of human society. Parents are the first teachers of their children and all education begins in the home. We need men and women in Public Office - and running for Public Office - to affirm their support of the fundamental educational mission of parents as the first teachers of their children. We also need them to acknowledge the right of parents to choose for their own children where they go to school. That choice should include the full array of options, public, private, parochial, charter and home schools, no matter what their economic status.

Educationoutside of the home is, after all, an extension of their parental role and primary educational mission. These children are not, in the words of the US Supreme Courts' Wisconsin v Yoder decision "....mere creatures of the State". The family is the first government. We have forgotten that objective truth as a Nation and we are reaping the consequences. We need candidates who propose effective and constitutionally sound efforts to encourage, empower, and support all parents in extending their educational mission, no matter what their economic conditions, through Parental Choice in education. The teaching of the Catholic Church on the primacy of parents in the education of their children is fundamental. Here are some more insights taken from the Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris Consortio" (The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World): "The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others..." In another of his instructions Pope John Paul II addressed parents as those responsible for the first School, the domestic church of the family. In his "Letter to Families", he wrote: "Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are parents. They share their educational mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State. But the mission of education must always be carried out in accordance with a proper application of the Principle of Subsidiarity." "This implies the legitimacy and indeed the need of giving assistance to the parents, but finds its intrinsic and absolute limit in their prevailing right and actual capabilities. The principle of subsidiarity is thus at the service of parental love, meeting the good of the family unit. "For parents by themselves are not capable of satisfying every requirement of the whole process of raising children; especially in matters concerning their schooling and the entire gamut of socialization. Subsidiarity thus complements paternal and maternal love and confirms its fundamental nature, inasmuch as all other participants in the process of education are only able to carry out their responsibilities in the name of the parents, with their consent and, to a certain degree, with their authorization." Parental Choice in education is an idea whose time has come. It is a matter of real social justice, not what is masquerading as social justice these days. The opposition of many in control of the teachers unions to such an obviously just approach to educational policy and fundamental fairness shows just how far some of these mediating associations, like some unions, have strayed from their primary role.  Governor Chris Christie is to be commended for his public statement this week and for his policy position favoring educational choice. Candidates for the 2010 Midterm National elections, and those considering a run for the White House in 2012, should pay close attention to his commitment to this issue. It is not a "liberal" or "conservative" approach; it is just the correct approach. Parental choice in education is right for our children, right for our parents and right for our Nation.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Ron Paul says he will not pay IRS fine against his non-profit org Watch

Image of Ron Paul suggested his group will fight the IRS if they attempt to enforce a fine against Campaign for Liberty.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty, a nonprofit political group, has been targeted by the IRS. The IRS has demanded to see the group's donor list, a demand the group has refused to meet which has led to a fine. The organization now says it will not pay the fine. LOS ... continue reading


Report says Christianity should be taught Watch

Image of Religions place in public education is a hotly debated issue for Americas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is commonly, though wrongly, accepted knowledge that public school teachers are not allowed to teach the Bible, biblical values, or Christian history in public schools. It is a debate that dominates every part of life, from a single household to the federal ... continue reading


Obama has proposed 442 tax hikes since taking office and you won't believe what he could tax next! Watch

Image of Obama has proposed hundreds of tax increases and more could come within the last two years.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama has attempted 442 tax increases during his six years as president so far, and more are likely to come as the administration looks for ways to pay for their proposals. According to Americans for Tax Reform, the numbers suggest why it's important to have ... continue reading


Hey Eric Holder, where are the special prosecutors? Watch

Image of Hey Holder, why won't you answer simple questions?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At several federal judges said last week that in their professional opinion, Attorney General Eric Holder has exceeded his authority by giving federal prosecutors "improper instruction" to reduce drug sentences prior to official approval of new guidelines. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Corruption runs deep - Ranking member of Committee asked to explain 'surreptitious communication' with IRS Watch

Image of Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has suspicious contact with the IRS. He has also resisted efforts to compel Lois Lerner to testify.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is asking its ranking member, Elijah Cummings (D-MD) why he had surreptitious communication with the IRS over a group that received unlawful IRS scrutiny. The committee says the public deserves a "full and truthful explanation" ... continue reading


Attorney General Eric Holder lashes out Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Attorney General Eric Holder has been under some intense, unflattering scrutiny as of late, stemming from the "Fast and the Furious" debacle. Holder went "off script" during a speech given at the National Action Network. While lauding the organization's effort ... continue reading


House Republicans contemplating jail for Lois Lerner Watch

Image of Lois Lerner could go to jail if she refuses to cooperate with investigators.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Republicans are contemplating the arrest of Lois Lerner for contempt in the event the Attorney General, Eric Holder refuses to act on their findings. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to investigate whether or ... continue reading


Attorney General Eric Holder gets 'ghetto' during hearing Watch

Image of Attorney General became angry and slipped into colloquial speech during a hearing with Representatives.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Attorney General Eric Holder might not be in contempt of a Congressional hearing, but he certainly behaved contemptuously in our opinion, when he was questioned as to why his department could provide documents to terrorists and their attorneys but not congress. After ... continue reading


Your government at work: Feds ATTACK lone cattle rancher with army --to protect a tortoise Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy is under siege on his cattle ranch by a small army of federal agents, over a tortoise and unpaid grazing fees.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A shocking paramilitary action in unfolding in the high Nevada desert pitting the Feds against a lone rancher and his cattle herd. It's the stuff of fiction, but it is happening right now and the U.S. government doesn't want anyone to know what they are doing. LAS ... continue reading


SEARCH AND READ - ACLU opens database of leaked NSA documents Watch

Image of Americans have widely condemned NSA spying, but little has changed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ACLU has launched its own database of documents leaked by Edward Snowden as well as other disclosures regarding at activities of the NSA. The ACLU says the documents will serve as a primary source for understanding the government's interpretation of its authority ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 16th, 2014 Image

St. Bernadette
April 16: On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter