Letter: Parents have choices in their children’s education
Posted on Jan 22, 2014 - 01:32 PM Printer Friendly View
National School Choice Week is Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, and parents everywhere—especially in Gloucester County—should be paying attention.
The need for an educated citizenry in order to maintain a Constitutional Republic as this country was founded is without question. But recent publication of surveys should make us question the value of government schools where most kids attend. These surveys reveal that 57 percent of the nation’s 17-year-olds weren’t able to place the Civil War within the correct 50-year time period and 83 percent of college graduates couldn’t name the Gettysburg address as the source of the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The nation’s founders and many who followed expected that schools would instill civic virtues. Yet when the word virtue is itself pulverized by a progressive culture that ignores concepts of right and wrong, why should parents trust a government school to change or improve performance standards that include growing dropout rates and the abysmal results noted above.
The Commonwealth reports that the average yearly cost of the government educating a child is a bit more than $10,000 per student. Last year a compliant Gloucester Board of Supervisors went along with the school board’s decision to roll over when a soon-to-be-retiring Superintendent of Public Schools whined that the district needed a new, $26 million middle school on T.C. Walker Road. In the ensuing discussions, many parents might have missed the fact that one of the features in the school’s web-based dog-and-pony show touting the new school’s architecture was that windows in the to-be-built classrooms were placed so as to allow teachers to view students fighting in the corridors. This is public education, of which Solzhenitsyn implored, “Live not by lies.”
Ware Academy’s yearly tuition for K-8 is $9,650. The cost at a Catholic parish school in the Hampton area is $6,300. In other parts of the Commonwealth like Culpeper, Catholic K-8 school is offered at $5,400, and a Christian academy in Chesapeake costs $7,500. The point here is that private and parochial schools independent of government funding offer education of the parent’s choice for less money than the statist model.
And home school is a viable option for many others, especially with help from the Core Knowledge Series from UVA’s renowned E.D. Hirsch Jr.
Parents everywhere deserve the ability to have a choice as to how and where their children are schooled. They are the primary educators of their families. All these parents need is the confidence to assert their authority to be these things!