Government Gone Wild: The Demise of Freedom in Our Education SystemNovember 19, 2007
It’s time to get scared- very scared. Big government has run wild- and is trampling the rights of the American people (and parents). If the following story doesn’t scare you- you deserve Big Brother as your master. And it’s only going to get worse. The morality police are turning our country into a Nanny State. These government bureaucrats (most of whom couldn’t get hired in the private sector) actually believe they know better than you or me about how to live our lives, educate and raise our children, and let’s not forget the biggest one of all- how to indoctrinate our children (a nice way of saying BRAINWASH our children). Big Brother wants to control what women do with their own bodies; determine what Americans can do in the privacy of our own bedrooms; tell all of us what we are allowed to do on our own computers (Internet freedom); how and when we die (the Terri Schiavo government intrusion); they want to re-create Prohibition (by banning online gaming and poker); arrest us for using medicinal marijuana with a doctor’s prescription (even in a state like California where it has been legalized by the voters); tell us what we can put into our own bodies (ban smoking, Trans Fats and Foie Gras- even in privately owned restaurants); banish guns from our own private homes (in violation of the constitution); and force us to immunize our school-age children- by threatening to banish them from the classroom. The list of restrictions on our liberties goes on and on.
This weekend I heard about the most ominous government intrusion yet- in Prince George County, Maryland, where school officials playing Big Brother have ordered parents to vaccinate their school-aged children, or the parents will be IMPRISONED. Yes I said imprisoned. Let’s pause for a second, take a deep breath, and reflect on the quagmire called the public school system. First of all, our public schools are failing miserably compared to any other industrialized country in the world. Children are dropping out of high school in record numbers; and even those that pass high school are often promoted only due to grade inflation. Drugs and violence are rampant within public schools. Cases of teachers molesting and sexually assaulting under-age children seem to be in the headlines on a daily basis. Our children are far behind in math and science versus high school graduates from other countries. Public teacher unions demand raises and increased spending as a reward for horrible performance- and refuse any form of accountability or pay based on merit. And worst of all, powerful teachers unions hold our children hostage by refusing to allow competition. They will not allow a level playing field- by refusing to allow vouchers or parental choice (so that parents in even the worst schools in the country are denied the opportunity to choose private school, religious school, or home-schooling).
It’s amazing- it makes you want to either laugh or cry at how ridiculous (and sad) it all is. No matter how bad our public schools get, there are three things that teachers and teachers unions demand- higher pay, more (wasted) funding, and no parental access to competition. The worse our schools get, the more funding they demand. The more schools fail, the more obstinate unions get about denying access to competition. “Things are so bad we can’t possibly allow competition” they whine in mock horror. Name another industry in America with this kind of loser’s mentality? The worst record in American business history has to be the auto industry- and even they have accountability (top executives get fired all the time) and allow competition (Japanese automakers have been chipping away at our market share for decades). Can you imagine if we gave auto workers automatic jobs for life with unaffordable pensions and health benefits? Oh right- we did. That’s why our auto industry is almost bankrupt and few of us buy American-made cars anymore. But we didn’t shield them from competition, give rewards for bad performance, or try to force the poorest among us to buy only American or else. Wouldn’t that be un-American? That’s exactly what we’ve been doing for over a century with our American public school system.
We’ve been giving jobs for life to teachers who have failing grades; suspending kids for bringing aspirin or nail clippers to school (yet somehow those same kids have no problem sneaking drugs and guns into schools); banning dodge ball because someone’s feelings might be hurt; banning kids from school for the crime of touching or hugging others (thereby violating a no-touch policy); and throwing more money (hundreds of millions) down the rat hole of failing public schools- with even worse results for every extra dollar spent. That’s what happens when you award a public school monopoly. That’s what happens when you allow unions to bribe liberal politicians (with massive union campaign contributions, and union employees masquerading as campaign workers). That’s what happens when you give power to people that couldn’t get a job in the private sector. Now we’ve gone a step further: we have empowered these power-hungry bureaucrats with the right to imprison parents who don’t force their children to do as they say. No wonder so many of the kids who manage to graduate public schools are prepared only for a life as an order-taker at McDonalds. How can you ever become an executive, business owner, boss, or leader of any kind, if all you’ve ever experienced in school is 13 years of baby-sitting and obeying orders without question, reason or debate (now imposed with the threat of prison for your parents).
My 3 children (with a 4th baby Root due on December 5th) are home-schooled. They are bright, creative, passionate, motivated to learn, and full of life and love. They have not been exposed to government-run brainwashing 8 hours a day. They value our constitution. They actually admire our Founding Fathers. They believe in the power of capitalism. They respect their parents. They don’t do drugs. They aren’t drugged with ADD drugs like Ritalin (that happen to enrich the bank accounts of public schools with federal government funding for each “disabled” child). They’ve never been in trouble in their lives. They love their country. They are able to pray to God without worrying about who that might offend. And they will only get the vaccines that their mom and dad (in consultation with our private physician- not doctors chosen by the government) have studied and deem necessary, proven, safe and effective.
No one from the government has to tell (or order) me, or my wife how to raise or educate our children. That’s the job of caring, involved, passionate, loving parents. No one has to provide meals for my children- they are fed healthy meals by their loving mother every day of the year. That’s the job of good parents. Isn’t it interesting that my kids are motivated, ambitious, bright, score at the top of their class in nationwide exams, and how about this one- love learning, love to read, and look forward to school each day. How many public school parents can say that?
We have a problem in this country- too little personal (and parental) responsibility, and far too much government intervention. Schools will never improve because we spend more money. They will only improve when we give more rights, freedom, responsibility and choice to parents. Smart, motivated kids, who stay out of trouble, are not created by teachers, or administrators, or unions. It doesn’t take a village (or a union) to raise a good kid. It just takes good parents. The answers to our crisis in public schools isn’t bigger government, stronger unions, higher paid teachers, more mandatory vaccines, or prison sentences for parents. It’s old fashioned parental involvement, parental choice, and most importantly, more competition. If public schools are failing, the answer isn’t forcing parents to send their children top failing schools. The answer is giving parents the freedom to find a better alternative. More freedom and choice is the answer to all the problems that ail society. Imprisoning parents (or their children in dangerous and failing government run baby-sitting camps) is not the answer. Isn’t freedom and personal choice why we fought a revolution in 1776? Isn’t freedom, liberty and choice what this nation is based on? Isn’t allowing competition what capitalism is based on? My proposal is simple and inexpensive: Let’s give power back to the people and the parents. ROOT for Liberty. ROOT for Freedom. ROOT for America.
Wayne Allyn Root is a Libertarian Presidential candidate. For more about Wayne and his bold stands on important political issues,