Loading and Unloading: A Perspective on National Educational Reform

The bedrock of my beliefs regarding the education of our children is this: The rights and responsibilities of educating our children lie with the parents first and foremost. Of course, there are many parents who forsake that right and responsibility or just lack the belief or confidence it is theirs. While we have the right to delegate much of that to someone else, such as public schools, private schools, charter schools, etc., at the end of the day, it is we, as parents, who are still responsible. I believe this is a God-given right.  It’s time to unload the weight from where it has been and put it back squarely where it fits.  By expanding our nations’ educational options, we better serve our parents in their roles as overseers of their children’s education.

Recently, I read this in an article written by Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University. It was posted on vox.com as part of The Big Idea, a section for outside contributors’ opinions about, and analysis of, the most important issues in politics, science, and culture.

“As the cost-benefit numbers continue to look bleak, the qualifications of a public school insider should mean less and less. And the more politicians and commentators insist that the first responsibility of the secretary of education is to represent and support public schools, the more we have an example of “capture” in government.

Capture takes place when an agency charged with monitoring an industry or profession ends up in the service of it. The agency or official starts to regard the object of evaluation as a constituency that must be supported. When the governor of a state gets too close to the public employee unions around negotiating time, he has stopped representing the people of his state and become a partisan of special interests. He has been captured.”

The Department of Education and the National Education Association have long been mainstays in how we view the education of our children, possibly for generations. Over time, they have flipped how our nation once believed (the responsibility of the education of our children lies with the parents) and have instead placed the responsibility squarely upon the shoulders of the government.

The DOE and NEA are powerful structures, which I believe have been “captured” and now work to serve their own interests above the interests of our children. It is no wonder they are so threatened by an outsider, who dares to think differently and propose additional avenues to the education of our children!

In some ways, I believe we as a nation have adopted a “slave” mindset concerning how we perceive the education of our children. This is how things are. It’s all we have known. Our grandparents and our parents have served under the mindset of public education being first and foremost the responsibility of the government. We can’t fathom or imagine anything else. We have no grid for it. But the door to freedom has cracked open a bit. Do you perceive it?

What I see happening is the dismantling of some of these incredible power structures in our nation for the purpose of introducing innovative, creative solutions. And the power structures in place will have none of it!

It is my own natural bent to cling to the way things have always been, to hold onto the status quo for dear life because it is the most comfortable and safe way of doing things. But when I listen to my spirit, I hear something else. I hear embrace innovation, offer choices, expand opportunities, etc.

Honestly, I rejoice to see this day come.  My children are grown and gone, but I have a grandchild, who could one day greatly benefit from this opportunity.  It’s an exciting, albeit sometimes terrifying, season for our nation! It is my hope and prayer that our nation’s educators and administrators will see the opportunities that lie before them and welcome the kind of change that could lead to the betterment of our educational system.

I will end with this quote from the aforementioned article, which can be found here: http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/7/14529608/betsy-devos-defense-critics-wrong-public-schools

“Indeed, as the alternative schooling movement spreads, one can imagine it attempting the same kind of capture that every other large industry aims for in its relations with the federal government.

If done with integrity, however, this diversification of primary and secondary education is clearly a threat to the privileged status of public schools. In objecting to Betsy DeVos on the grounds that she is insufficiently committed to the public schools above all other deliveries of education, her opponents are maintaining a narrow and disappointing status quo, whether they realize it or not.”