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Teaching begins at home

May 10, 2011
By Mike House

Who can best educate your children and grandchildren? Maybe a better question would be whose responsibility is the education of our children?

It is obvious that the Obama administration, the teachers' unions, state legislatures and the state and local boards of education believe it is that of the public school. President Barack Obama has proposed a 20.7 percent increase in federal spending for the Department of Education to the tune of $77.4 billion. For an agency of our government, which was only begun 30 years ago (Jimmy Carter, May 16, 1980), to have grown to more than 5,000 employees and a budget of $77.4 billion, and is still failing miserably, we must question its continued existence. Do we really need the Department of Education to assist us in educating our children?

At the very heart of the problem is the fact that parents, not the "nanny" state of our government, bear the responsibility of educating their children. However, as our society has forsaken the principles of God's word, we have come to place that the government believes it knows better how to raise and educate our children than we do. Parents by the same token have grown accustom to dropping their children off at the doorstep of the schoolhouse and expecting teachers to work miracles with their children who have received no instruction or discipline in the home. This is very unfair to the teachers and school staff. I believe a true understanding of parental responsibility is essential to the proper education of our children.

This begins with God's clear instruction to parents of their responsibility to teach their children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (KJV)." The book of Proverbs gives a wealth of information (as well as many other scriptures, i.e. Ephesians 6:1-4) regarding how parents can properly raise their children and clearly commands, "Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father ... (Proverbs 4: 1)."

The WVPatriots recently hosted a seminar featuring Tim Barton of the WallBuilders organization. Mr. Barton gave a scholarly presentation of the biblical founding of our nation. I would encourage everyone to visit their website at In the vast information presented in the seminar, Mr. Barton gave a portrayal of the Biblical founding of education in America.

In respect to the topic of public education, Mr. Barton referred to a warning Mr. H.N. Gaines gave to public educators in Kansas in 1893.

"The free public schools of America are out growths of the parochial or pastoral schools of puritan New England, which were established by our forefathers to prepare their children for becoming useful members of society and the church ... . Whether this was wise or not is not my purpose to discuss, further than to remark that, if the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all State schools, if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily programme, if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercise of these public elementary schools, then the good of the State would be better served by restoring all schools to church control (History of Education in Kansas. Kansas State Historical Society. Topeka: Hamilton Printing Co. 1893)."

In the heated debate over the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, Kevin Chavous, chairman of the Black Alliance for Education Options, and Julio Fuentes, head of the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, called into question the president's hypocritical and misleading opposition to the voucher program. They point out that the president himself attended private schools using scholarships and now his own daughters attend a private school. They also disagree with the president that there is no data supporting the success of vouchers. Fuentes stated, "There are positive results coming out of not just here in D.C., but in other programs throughout the country that have similar programs."

School choice, in many different forms, is at the heart of the alternatives being considered by state legislatures across the country. There are two basic principles that drive the school choice alternative. An essential principle is the fact that parents bear the responsibility of educating their children, and the simple fact that they know what is best for their children. The second principle is a foundational truth of our society; the free market system, that is competition, works best.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert points out that "our current system is wrong. Competition is at the bedrock of America, and it's time that education reaches the market economy ... . Let's find out what works and let the money go with the kids."

The debate rages, teacher's unions are crying foul, Democratic legislators are illegally fleeing their states, and liberal organizations like the Freedom from Religion Foundation are demanding they must be stopped. However, the fact is, when parents are given the choice, and the financial freedom to do so, they choose alternatives to the public school. It is our money to begin with, give us the power to choose, and let the money follow the child.



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