Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

10/31/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

On this fifth day before the election we address another public policy position where the two candidates have profoundly divergent views - the path to educational reform

The current approach to education is failing miserably and our children are suffering. Statistics and experience confirm the obvious. It is time for a change and school choice is that change. It means affirming again, as a matter of public policy and legislation, that Parents are the ones who should be able to make the choice of how to best extend their own teaching mission outside of the home for their children.

Highlights

By Deal W Hudson and Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/31/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Catholic vote, school choice, parental choice, Romney, Ryan, Obama, Biden, educational reform, campaign 2012, Deal W Hudson, Keith A Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic online) - We are five days away from what we claim is one of the most important Presidential elections in US History. We have tried to help fellow Catholic citizens understand their vital role in shaping the future of this Nation we love through exercising their faithful citizenship. 

We have exposed the errant positions of some Catholics in public life and said, without hesitation, that one simply cannot be a faithful Catholic and hold what is euphemistically called a "pro-choice" position on abortion - or fail to defend true marriage and the family and society founded upon it.

We have discussed the difference between non-negotiable matters which concern intrinsic evils - and those areas which allow for the exercise of prudential jugment. Given their numbers, U.S. Catholics can determine the outcome of this election.

That requires us to act in a manner which is, to use words of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "morally coherent". That phrase was used in an instruction released in 2002 entitled a "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life".

On this fifth day before the election we address another public policy position where the two candidates have profoundly divergent views - the path to educational reform. The current overly federalized approach to the provision of education in the United States is failing miserably and our children are suffering.

Statistics and experience confirm the obvious. It is time for a change and school choice is that change. It means affirming again, as a matter of public policy and legislation, that Parents are the ones who should be able to make the choice of how to best extend their own teaching mission outside of the home for their children.

On May 23, 3012, Mitt Romney outlined his educational policy in a speech he gave in Washington, DC to the Latino Coalition. The speech  was based upon a larger policy statement contained in a white paper which explains the reforms entitled "A Chance for Every Child" which can be read in its entirety here.

Romney told the leaders "I'll be blunt, I don't like the direction of American education and, as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids in this great land."  He said bluntly that many students in the United States receive a "third world education" and that "minority children suffer the most." 

"Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don't meet their needs.  And for too long, we've merely talked about the virtues of school choice. As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school."

"For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.  And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it."

President Obama has not endorsed school choice. Though he reversed his earlier position opposing the Opportunity Scholarship program in Washington, DC, he has proposed an increased role for the Federal government as the path to educational reform. We disagree.  

Those who oppose school choice, such as the President and some leaders of the teachers union, call it an effort to "privatize" education. In fact, it is an effort to "Parentize" education. It affirms that that the family is the first school and first government. It insists that parents should make the choices concerning the education of their children outside of the first school of the home. 

Those who support school choice call for enabling legislation which makes it possible for all parents, no matter what their socio-economic situation, to choose where to send their children to school. This choice would be available from among a full array of options including public, private, parochial, virtual, charter and home schools.

This can be accomplished in a constitutionally sound way by empowering parents to make this vital choice through properly drafted legislation, tax credits, or opportunity scholarships. Governor Romneys position on education follows the child and is made by the parents and not the Federal Government. 

Those who oppose school choice, including President Obama, resort to scare tactics in their opposition. They argue that it will detrimentally affect the public school system and that supporters of school choice are against public schools. That are wrong on both claims. 

They propose that the overly federalized bloated bureaucracy called the Public School system should continue down the path which has led to failure. They make it sound as though the current approach to public education has always existed in American history. In reality, nothing could be further from our true history.

Public schools were first local, community schools. School choice will return the leadership of our educational approach to parents and the local community, empowered and assisted by the Federal government. It would improve the public school system as well as ensure that parents can choose the schools they want for their children. Competition in the delivery of goods and services has amazing results.

School Choice is not a threat to the Federal Government. Rather, it recognizes that all government begins in the home and applies the social ordering principle of subsidiarity. The term is derived from the Latin word "subsidium" which means help or assistance.

Subsidiarity is a social ordering principle which says that governing should begin at the smallest level first. The first government is the family. All other government should provide assistance or help to that first government - and not usurp its primary role. It favors a bottom up approach to governing and affirms the family as the first government and first school.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the right of parents to choose a school for their children, "As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions."
 
"This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators. Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise." (CCC#2229)

The Federal Government should recognize that the family is the first government. All other government must first be at its service. In "The Role of the Christian family in the Modern World" Blessed John Paul II called for the development of a "family politics". School choice is an example of such a "family politics". 

Support for school choice affirms the right of all parents to choose where their children go to school. That choice should include the full array of options, public, private, parochial, charter and home schools, no matter what the economic status of the family. It is better for the children, better for society and more economically efficient. It is also clearly embraced in catholic teaching.

In an Apostolic Exhortation on the "Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World "Blessed John Paul II wrote, "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 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."

School Choice is a matter of true social justice - not sometimes masquerades as social justice. The opposition by some in the leadership of the teachers unions shows how far some of these mediating associations have strayed from their proper social role. School choice is right for our children, right for our parents and right for our Nation.

Will school choice in the United States improve the current state of our Catholic School system in the United States? Yes, it will. It will open up our schools as one of the many options for parents to choose from for their own children. We should welcome that both as Catholics and as good citizens.

We are five days away from one of the most important Presidential elections in decades. It is time for a new politics, a family politics.True Educational Reform passes through School Choice.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Supreme Court justice Sotomayor warns about drones encroaching on American way of life Watch

Image of Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that she's particularly troubled by the potential for commercial and government drones to compromise personal privacy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Unmanned surveillance planes called drones pose a threat to the privacy of American citizens, warns Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said. Speaking to students at Oklahoma City University's law school, Sotomayor says that frightening changes in technology ... continue reading


Obama says Islamic State 'is not Islamic' - what are they, then? Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama vowed to "degrade and destroy" the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria, He intends to do so with airstrikes and a minimal military presence on the ground. The president also declared that the Islamic State terrorists "are not Islamic." ... continue reading


Obama vows to attack Islamic State militants 'wherever they exist' Watch

Image of There has been some progress made against the group. After more than 150 U.S. airstrikes in Iraq in the past month, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have halted the Islamic State advance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama has vowed to attack Islamic State militants "wherever they exist." Obama will be sending a limited U.S. military presence of 475 personnel. The president also declared that the United States will act in concert with a broad coalition ... continue reading


Opinion: We Need a Blue Collar Conservative like Rick Santorum in the 2016 Presidential Campaign Watch

Image of Rick Santorum is not an establishment candidate. He threatens establishment leaders in both major political parties. he has always played the role of the underdog and been counted out by the many self professed experts. That is one of the greatest assets he would bring to the 2016 Presidential campaign. He has the potential to draw voters from across party lines and help to forge a new governing coalition which can resuscitate the American dream and set us on a course to brighter future. I sincerely hope he runs.

By Keith A. Fournier

Rick Santorum is a statesman in an age of salesmen - and women. He is a man with a chest.  I will be watching his movements over the next few months. If he decides to run, and I hope he does, he will bring along with him into his presidential campaign a ... continue reading


Pelosi favors sweeping regulations to save net neutrality and ban Internet 'fast lanes' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an unpopular stand for many Republicans, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she wants to give federal regulators sweeping new powers over Internet access. It's a necessity in order to save net neutrality and protect Internet users, she says. ... continue reading


READY TO STRIKE: President Obama prepared to use airstrikes in Syria Watch

Image of President Obama believes he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president recently.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From admitting that he had no policy in regards to Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama is now ready for some clear decisive action. The president says that he is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria in order to defeat the militant jihadist group ... continue reading


Real cost of Obamacare - 350,000 jobs loss and premium hikes for small businesses Watch

Image of Individual year-round employees at businesses with 50 to 99 workers lost $935 annually, while those at firms with 20 to 49 workers are out an average of $827.50 per person in take-home pay.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a new analysis of the effects of the health-care reform law, Obamacare has taken a toll on small businesses. According to a new study, there have been millions of dollars in reduced pay and hundreds of thousands fewer jobs. In short - many ... continue reading


More emails 'lost' connected to Lois Lerner case Watch

Image of IRS teacher Lois Lerner, who was placed on leave and has since retired, has emerged as the key figure in congressional investigations.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the most recent development, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS says it has lost emails from five more employees' part of congressional probes into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Team Clinton turns on Obama! Foreign policy in new book dismissed as 'feckless' Watch

Image of A scathing new book from a member of Team Clinton takes President Obama to task for an unfocused foreign policy.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The honeymoon appears over between top U.S. Democratic alliances, the Clintons and the Obama administration. A member of the Clinton kitchen cabinet is out with a new book that slams U.S. policy as "muddled, irresolute, and even feckless." Doug Schoen's takes ... continue reading


Is hummus too fatty? First lady Michelle O's diet plan driving kids away from school lunches Watch

Image of As championed by Michelle Obama, the new school diet plan is fraught with loopholes.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

First lady Michelle Obama has rolled up her sleeves and launched a campaign against childhood obesity by devising a diet that eliminate high-fat foods from school lunches . The trouble is, kids find the approved school lunches too bland and are seeking ... 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 5:7-9
7 During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20
2 turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a ... Read More

Gospel, John 19:25-27
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 15th, 2014 Image

St. Valerian
September 15: The massacre of the martyrs of Lyons with their bishop, St. ... 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