Hudson and Fournier: Catholic Countdown to Election 2012. True Educational Reform Passes Through School Choice
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.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Catholic vote, school choice, parental choice, Romney, Ryan, Obama, Biden, educational reform, campaign 2012, Deal W Hudson, Keith A Fournier
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