Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

8/9/2013 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

More and more parents and more and more States are choosing school or parental choice

There are numerous stories circulating about the actor Matt Damon. An ardent advocate for public schools and teachers unions, he chose to send his own children to private schools in Los Angeles. The purpose of some reports was to criticize him and focus on his political views. I wish the reports had focused on the choice he made, for his children and as a parent. Every parent should be able to make that same kind of choice for their own children, not just those who are wealthy. This is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is an issue of what is right, for our children, for our parents, and for our Nation.

More and more parents and more and more States are choosing school or parental choice. Clearly, there is a growing movement for educational reform underway and it is changing the educational landscape. The current overly federalized approach to the provision of education in the United States is failing miserably and our children are suffering.

More and more parents and more and more States are choosing school or parental choice. Clearly, there is a growing movement for educational reform underway and it is changing the educational landscape. The current overly federalized approach to the provision of education in the United States is failing miserably and our children are suffering.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/9/2013 (11 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: school choice, educational reform, teachers unions, Matt Damon, educational revolution, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - There are numerous stories circulating about the actor Matt Damon. An ardent advocate for public schools and teachers unions, he chose to send his own children to private schools in Los Angeles. The purpose of some reports was to criticize him and focus on his political views.

I wish the reports had focused on the choice he made, for his children and as a parent. Every parent should be able to make that same kind of choice for their own children, not just those who are wealthy. This is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is an issue of what is right, for our children, for our parents, and for our Nation. Education Week offered an encouraging look at the momentum which the movement for school choice has gained in the US in their recent edition. The article written by Andrew Ujifusa is entitled School-Choice Legislation Wins Big in States This Year. The Pew Charitable Trust offered another encouraging analysis in a report by Elaine S Povich entitled Tax Dollars for Private School Tuition Gain in States It focuses on the Alabama experience, but offers some excellent updates on this rapidly growing educational revolution in the United States. More and more parents and more and more States are choosing school or parental choice. Clearly, there is a growing movement for educational reform underway and it is changing the educational landscape. 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 parental (school) choice is that change. It is time to move beyond the stale rhetoric and ineffective top down federal educational programs and enact real educational Reform in the United States. We need an educational revolution and not the rearranging of chairs on the Titanic of the current approach to public schools. I prefer to use the term parental choice in education when advocating for this reform for a good reason. The term recognizes that parents are the first teachers. Therefore, they should be the ones who make the choice where to expand their teaching mission for their own children. This choice should make available for all parents good public, private, parochial, virtual, classical, charter and home schools. Education outside of the home is an extension of the parent's primary educational mission. The family is the first school and the first government. We have forgotten that objective truth as a Nation and we are reaping the consequences. Good government is always bottom up, not top down, deferring first to the smallest governing unit; not usurping but empowering and helping families. Some who oppose this educational reform often resort to scare tactics. They argue that it will detrimentally affect the public school system. They claim that supporters of school choice are against public schools. This is simply not true.  I support school choice. I grew up in the inner city of Dorchester, Massachusetts in a blue collar home. My parents struggled to give me the first four primary educational years in a parochial school. The remainder of my education was in a public school. My parents moved, at great sacrifice and hardship, to make sure I attended a good public school. School choice will give parents greater say in their local schools and make such disruptive moves less necessary. Parental choice in education will give every parent, no matter where they live or how much they earn, the choice of where to send their children to school. And, it will do so while saving money and improving educational quality across the board! Opponents of parental choice in education often try to rewrite American history. They claim the currently overly federalized bloated bureaucracy called the Public School system is how education in the United States has always been. Nothing could be further from factual history. In loco parentis - a Latin phrase meaning in the place of, or on behalf of the parents - was the polestar of educational law for years. Now, it is all but replaced with a top down one size fits all federalized system which has substituted bureaucrats for parents. The origins of what became the public school system began with families pooling resources in small community schools.  Now, parents and local communities have an increasingly smaller role in the educational decisional process. Public schools were first local, community schools. Parental or School choice educational reform will return the leadership of our National educational endeavor to parents and the local community. Some opponents also allege that supporters of parental or school choice want to privatize education. In fact, it is really an effort to Parentize education, by once again affirming that that the family is the first school and first government and parents are the first teachers. Parents and not federal bureaucrats should make the choices concerning the education of their children outside of the first school of the home. We need to reconsider our history and chart an effective path to true educational reform and educational freedom in the future. The origins of what became the public school system began with families pooling resources in small community schools.  Now, parents and local communities have an increasingly smaller role in the educational process. School Choice is not a threat to good governance. Rather, it recognizes that government begins in the home and then applies the social ordering principle of subsidiarity. The term is derived from the Latin word "subsidium" which means help or assistance. The principle of subisdiarity is a social ordering principle which says that governance should begin at the smallest level first. All other government should provide assistance or help to that first government - and not usurp its primary role. Thus, it is a principle which favors a bottom up approach to governing and affirms the family as the first government and first school. Some opponents of educational choice have a vested interest; they are entrenched in the current federalized educational bureaucracy and the culture which fuels it. However, people of every walk of life now admit the obvious, our educational system is broken.  A growing number now support the school choice or parental choice movement. Education outside of the home is an extension of the parental role. Those who provide it should recognize and defer to the parents' primary role in the educational mission of their own children. The children being educated 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 and the first school house. We have forgotten that objective truth as a Nation and we are reaping the bad consequences. Those who try to paint supporters of school choice as backward and anti-Government are using sophistry. The fact is that educational reform like this is forward looking. Their doggedly clinging to a bloated federal bureaucratic approach is what is backward. They fail to defer to the first mediating institution of the family. Parental (School) Choice is an idea whose time has come. It is a matter of true social justice, not what is masquerading as social justice in some circles these days. The opposition of some in control of the teachers unions to such a just approach to educational policy and fundamental fairness shows how far some of these mediating associations have strayed from their primary role. Parental choice in education is right for our children, right for our parents and right for the future of our Nation. Parental Choice in education is the path to a true national reform of our educational system. The real educational revolution in the United States is gaining steam as School Choice wins big in States in 2013.

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

U.S. Bishops say Obama's executive order 'implements discrimination' Watch

Image of Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, pictured, and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo in a statement noted that the executive order, which will impact a fifth of the U.S. workforce, discriminates against faithful Catholics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new order by U.S. President Obama that forbids federal contractors from discriminating "on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," has been denounced by U.S. bishops as "unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed" and, in effect, ... continue reading


Israel harshly critical of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, called 'an Alien' Watch

Image of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent decision to use Qatar as a conduit through which to communicate with Hamas, effectively ditching an earlier Egyptian proposal which the group had rejected has stirred the pot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States and Israel have been the staunchest of allies since Israel reached statehood following World War II - but this doesn't mean that the nations have always seen eye-to-eye. Indeed, the right-wing faction of the Israeli government are harshly ... continue reading


President Obama is 'mailing it in', bought the farm - spending lots of time golfing and goofing off Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lackadaisical. That word is used to define "lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy." Lackadaisical appears to described U.S. President Barack Obama as of late. The president is pending an awful lot of time playing golf while the nation and the ... continue reading


In President Obama's war on religious freedom the people suffer another loss Watch

Image of A July 21 executive order has dealt a huge blow to the cause of freedom of religion in the United States.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's July 21 executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual-self-identification has lead to strong criticism from several prominent U.S. bishops, calling the executive order "unprecedented and extreme." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Efforts against female genital mutilation could be thwarted by population growth Watch

Image of Due partly to community activism and legislation, the prevalence of FGM, which involves the cutting away of the external female genitalia, and the marriage of girls under the age of 18 has decreased slightly over the last 30 years, UNICEF said.

By Lisa Anderson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Advances in fighting female genital mutilation, or FGM and child marriage could be offset by population growth unless the rate of progress increases, according to new data released Tuesday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


FREE SPEECH VIOLATED: Tea party groups' lawsuit against IRS proceeds Watch

Image of Among the individuals named in the lawsuit is Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at that time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not going to take it - and they're taking their claims to court. A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit by 10 tea party groups to move forward against the Internal Revenue Service. The judge rejected a request by the federal government to dismiss all the ... continue reading


'Suing the president is the right path to go down here,' Boehner declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House of Representatives has no plans to use its own constitutional authority to withhold funding from actions by President Obama. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that if the president takes actions that exceed his constitutional authority, ... continue reading


Federal government says state death penalties are 'unconstitutional' Watch

Image of A federal judge has called California's death penalty unconstitutional. Surprisingly though, this judge is a conservative republican, a party that has long opposed federal overreach into state rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A federal judge ruled that California's death penalty is unconstitutional on July 16, claiming that the state's system is arbitrary, unfair, and cruel and unusual because of a lengthy process that leaves prisoners in the dark about their actual death row status. ... continue reading


'American people have a right to know,' Issa proclaims Watch

Image of Darrel Issa says that Simas' testimony was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California said administration claims that White House political director David Simas was immune from testimony were "absurd" and "deeply disturbing." Defying a subpoena, Issa has now set up a new high-profile fight ... continue reading


Cheat on your taxes? It just got a lot easier Watch

Image of If you still fear a knock at your door anytime soon, it must be noted that one's chances of getting audited vary greatly and are based on income.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you cheat on your taxes - or senselessly worry that some indiscretion in your recent past will have the Internal Revenue Service shortly breathing down your neck - things just got a little bit brighter. The GOP-controlled House has voted to slash the budget ... 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

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... 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