Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/5/2010 (4 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.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/5/2010 (4 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: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

'You have to know who your enemy is' Downplaying and mislabling Islamic extremism is a dangerous path for the U.S. Watch

Image of Islamic extremism is terrorism, it is not simply criminal conduct.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Obama administration refuses to acknowledge the terrorism attacks around the world for what it is, Islamic extremism. This blatant disregard of the real problem can be harmful for the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Secretary of State, John Kerry was ... continue reading


Striking back at the Dems! Koch brothers allocate nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS for 2016 presidential race Watch

Image of David Koch, one of the leaders of a political action network that has the monetary power to spend hundreds of millions on political races.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems the Koch brothers have no plans to ease their political spending habits in 2015, as top officials in the brothers' political network released a budget of $889 million to be spent on the vast political network ahead of the 2016 presidential race. LOS ... continue reading


Turning off spigot: Obama aims to possessively guard oil-rich Alaskan coastline from development Watch

Image of Alaska's coastal plain has been at the center of a fight between conservationists and advocates of greater energy exploration in the U.S. for a very long time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just because there's been relief at the corner gas pump doesn't mean that the United States won't need any more oil in the near future - far from it. As such, many are infuriated that U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to designate the vast majority of Alaska's ... continue reading


And the field gets thicker! Rubio joins Bush, Romney, Walker and Christie as 2016 presidential hopeful Watch

Image of Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida may be crafting a campaign team for a potential 2016 bid.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A fifth Republican is making noise that could be interpreted as intent to make a 2016 presidential run. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Florida Senator Marco Rubio is possibly gathering a campaign team, planning out a slew of state visits starting in February, and ... continue reading


Scott Walker enters the 2016 Republican nomination ring with speech attacking Obama's failed policies Watch

Image of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave a speech in Iowa, a move which may put him in the running for the Republican nomination.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may have been the first Republicans to make it clear-though still unofficial-that they intend to run for the Republican nomination in 2016, but ... continue reading


Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney hold summit meeting: Are they plotting election strategy? Watch

Image of There have been stories in a number of outlets that Jeb Bush proposed the meeting weeks ago, in order to thank Mitt Romney for his past party leadership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are having a summit meeting. The meeting will be in Utah. Speculation swirls about what the meeting will entail. Some GOP party officials hope "the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns ... continue reading


An average of 27 late-term abortions happen every day in the United States; the bill to protect the unborn from this cruel pain was dramatically dropped by the GOP Watch

Image of 10,000 babies are killed each year through late-term abortions.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An estimated 10,000 unborn babies are killed each year through late-term abortions. This averages out to 27.4 abortions taking place 20 weeks or later per day or 1.14 per hour, according to the Congressional Budget Office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pain ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Pope Francis, Politics, and Catholic Social teaching Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone - Fidelity to the Gospel requires that we be able to prophetically challenge the positions of all political parties, and that our loyalty to Christ and his teaching supersedes our loyalty to any political party, although such loyalties are not per se incompatible with being a Christian.

By Matt C. Abbott

It remains true that the right to life is the most fundamental right and that the duty to defend it is a more urgent priority than other social justice priorities. But to what extent that fact helps or hurts a political party depends upon the party, and his ... continue reading


President Obama fiercely hits the country with proposed $320 billion tax hike, explained in his annual State of the Union Watch

Image of Obama plans on spending his remaining two years in office helping the middle class experience the prosperity of the recovery.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two years before President Obama's departure, he has vowed to spend his remaining time "playing offense." In his annual State of the Union, Obama will address his proposal to increase tax hikes on America's "one percent." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Parts ... continue reading


Attorney General Eric Holder denounced as 'coward' and 'hypocrite' by former FBI agent Watch

Image of A former FBI agent says that Attorney General Eric Holder has used the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former FBI agent K. Dee McCown, who left the agency in 2008, has written a strong letter to Attorney General Eric Holder where McKown denounces Holder as a "coward" and a "hypocrite." McCown says he was compelled to write after the shooting deaths of two New ... 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, Hebrews 10:19-25
19 We have then, brothers, complete confidence ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:21-25
21 He also said to them, 'Is a lamp brought in to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 29th, 2015 Image

Sts. Sarbelius & Barbea
January 29: Two martyrs, brother and sister, who were put to death at Edessa ... 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