Alliance for Free Choice in Education
Save Our Children
Save Our Nation
Predictions by political pundits and pollsters abound on the kind of changes expected in the coming midterm elections. It is far more important for Americans to be informed on what every voter can do to restore Constitutional government. One need not be a Constitutional expert to recognize that we have veered far off the Constitutional track and our government is no longer “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Our government continues to grow just as quickly as individual liberty declines. Whether the issue is high taxes, overwhelming regulations, nationalization of healthcare, the breakup of the family, or life itself, the underlying problem is top-heavy government.
While those in power are in frenzy, blaming each other for the various ills of society, and distracting us from the root cause of the problem, we need to focus our attention on the underlining principles upon which our nation was founded, and elect those who are so committed. The wellbeing of society is a shared responsibility in which every one of us has a role. The least we can do is utilize the leverage of our vote on behalf of life, liberty and equal justice under the law.
Our Founders, ardent students of history, recognized that the only way to avoid government tyranny is to assure that government power remains with “We the People.” Although the power of government has now grown far beyond the confines of the Constitution, a well informed public can turn the tide and restore our government as it was meant to be. Only four short years ago voters broke records by changing more seats than in any midterm election since 1938.[i] We can do even better this year by focusing on principle instead of party; on the character and trustworthiness of those we elect to public office.
While it may appear that voters are confused and helpless, we still have the power of our vote. We need to use it carefully and wisely. We can even let our fingers do the walking. Modern electronic communication enables every voter to learn whether their candidates stand for top-down or bottom-up government, and whether their actions match their stand.
Tracing the source of our loss of liberty, and our nation’s moral decline, leads us directly to government control of education, which serves as the nursery of all society. In 1981 then Secretary of Education T. H. Bell created the National Commission on Excellence in Education to study our nation’s quality of education, as a result of “the widespread public perception that something is seriously remiss in our educational system.”[ii]
The Commission’s 1983 report, entitled A Nation At Risk, described an educational system in precipitous decline and recommended numerous improvements, most of which have been, and continue to be ignored. Common Core is in direct conflict with these recommendations, including this one: “We must emphasize that the variety of student aspirations, abilities, and preparation requires that appropriate content be available to satisfy diverse needs.”
Although the Commission was charged with “defining the problems that need to be faced and overcome,” the underlying problem of top-down control was not addressed.[iii] Almost three decades earlier, the great free-enterprise economist Milton Friedman, in his 1955 treatise The Role of Government in Education, described the problem and its solution.[iv] While government has a legitimate role to play in assuring that every child receive a basic education, in a free society parents are the rightful ones to choose the education that best meets the needs of their children. Just as free enterprise allows us all to purchase the best products and services at the best price, parents must be empowered to choose the schools that best meet the needs of their children. He proposed a voucher system to accomplish this.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee now has before it proposed legislation that would implement Friedman’s plan in our nation’s capital. Entitled the D.C. Civil Right Act for Equal Educational Opportunity, it would provide a school voucher valued at half current costs (approximately $15,000 as opposed to $30,000)[v] for every child whose parents choose to send their child to an approved nonpublic school. In addition to restoring liberty and equal opportunity for the children of our nation’s capital, this would serve as a model and trail blazer for the entire country.
It was most encouraging to learn that Congressman Scott Garrett (NJ-5) supports the bill and would be willing to cosponsor it, provided he is joined by a Member of the Committee. Although many on the Committee advocate school reform and parental choice, a sponsor has yet to step forward. We have been told by Katherine Haley, political advisor to Speaker John Boehner, a leading school choice advocate, “We need to hear from our constituents.”[vi]
Sponsorship of this bill will serve as a clarion call to every candidate and voter that parental choice in education is no longer “politically impossible.” It will serve as a platform on which every candidate can stand and demonstrate support for liberty and equal treatment under the law. This will also provide every American with the incredible opportunity to restore our Constitution to its original place as the supreme law of the land, and save our children and save our nation.
[vi] This was personally conveyed to us by phone.