September 1, 1999
Over the past decades of declining public school excellence and
increasing public school crime, many parents have chosen the expensive
option of transferring to private schools or the time-consuming option
of homeschooling. Many more have remained in public schools, where
they face a constant battle against inferior curricula that fail to
teach the basics but indoctrinate children in beliefs and attitudes
that the parents find contrary to their faith and values.
Despite public school hostility to parental supervision, parents
are beginning to win some battles against the entrenched establishment.
We can report a variety of remarkable victories.
- Illinois Governor George Ryan has just signed a law that
prohibits the public schools from forcing students to participate in
School-to-Work. The new law forbids the public school system from
requiring any student to meet occupational standards for grade level
promotion or graduation unless that student is voluntarily enrolled in
a job training program.
School-to-Work is a highly controversial program designed to
"restructure" the public schools into job training centers instead of
educational institutions teaching traditional academics. It originated
with a federal law of that name signed by President Clinton in 1994.
The purpose of School-to-Work was best described by Rep. Henry
Hyde (R-IL) as a plan "to train schoolchildren to be entry level
workers for the national and global business community, with minimum
academic requirements." It's also a plan to route school funding and
authority from the federal government to bureaucrats and businessmen
appointed by governors, thereby bypassing elected state legislatures
and school boards.
Most parents expect more from the schools than training in work
skills for minimum-wage jobs. They expect an academic education to
enable their children to aspire to be all they can be.
- The Kansas State Board of Education voted a couple of weeks
ago to remove evolution from public school science tests. This action
frees up local schools and school boards to make their own decisions in
regard to teaching hypotheses about evolution, which are all too often
presented in a way that is offensive to students of religious faith.
Contrary to the widespread front-page publicity accorded this
action, no teacher will be prohibited from teaching evolution. The
Kansas action simply stopped the state from imposing Darwinian theology
- Debra Gaudette of East Hartford, Connecticut, has just
triumphed in her five-year effort to see the results of her daughter's
Connecticut Mastery Test given in the sixth grade. The U.S. Department
of Education finally issued a ruling saying that the school
establishment had violated Mrs. Gaudette's parental rights under the
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Mrs. Gaudette pursued her long and lonely battle in the face of
refusal, stonewalling, and hostility from the school establishment.
Since the tests, which may be filled with leading, privacy-invading,
and even ridiculous questions, play a large role in determining the
child's future, she believes that she, as parent, is entitled to know
which questions her child missed and how they were graded.
FERPA was her winning weapon. While it is an outrage that it took
the Connecticut school system five years to obey the law, her victory
is a win for all parents who want to know how their children answer
test questions and what criteria the school uses to grade them.
- Abstinence education has suddenly become trendy rather than
old-fashioned. The new Miss Wisconsin, Mary Louise Kurey, stood on an
abstinence education platform throughout her beauty pageant
competition, despite warnings from contest officials that this would
handicap her chances.
At least 19 contestants in other state beauty pageants, including
three young women competing for the title of Miss Illinois, also used
abstinence education as their platform. Beautiful girls are standing
in open defiance of the explicit sex education (with demonstrations of
sex devices) that has been forced on public school children for the
last 20 years under guidelines from three special-interest groups: the
National Education Association, Planned Parenthood, and SIECUS (Sex
Information Education Council of the U.S.).
- Student-initiated prayer in Alabama was upheld in a new U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning a portion of a 1997
ruling by U.S. District Judge Ira DeMent. Alabama Attorney General
Bill Pryor called the ruling "a victory for all the children in the
public schools of our state, that they do not surrender their
constitutional rights when they attend a public school in Alabama."
Parents who dare to exercise their parental rights over their
children in public schools are often called "right-wing, book-burning
censors who are trying to impose their fundamentalist views on others."
On the contrary, it's the public schools that have been doing the
"imposing," and parents who have the courage to resist are starting to