Set Education Free
By Robert W. Peck – Chairman, Constitution Party of Washington
A friend recently shared a photo with me in an email that caught my attention and prompted me to ponder, once again, the matter of education. In the picture, a child is asking her mother:
To which the mother replies:
“So you can be molded into a state approved homogeneous drone that cannot think outside of the prescribed consensus. You will learn to repeat information instead of how to think for yourself so that you don’t become a threat to the status quo. When you graduate you will get a job and pay your taxes in order to perpetuate the corporate system of indentured servitude.”
Now, I’m not promoting the idea of there being some grand conspiracy here, nor am I indicating disdain for education in general. However, as someone who is inclined to question the accepted norms, I do see a lot of truth behind this satire. The mother’s statement speaks to me of the danger, and indeed, the folly, of a society placing education into the hands of government to have the power to mandate, regulate, and own and operate the infrastructure for the dispensing of this precious commodity.
In a free country, parents would choose the when, where, whether and how of the educating of their own children, not have it mandated by a government that chooses the curriculum and sets the standards. Likewise, in a free country, those individuals, to whom God has given the gift of being educators, would be free to educate with all of their intellect, ability and God-given gifting according to their own conscience, unfettered by an education bureaucracy telling them how to teach. In a truly free country, the education of children would be determined exclusively by parents and those educators whose assistance parents might choose to employ.
As the framers of the United States Constitution understood, government does have a role to play in creating an atmosphere in which the general population can fare well, or as they put it, to “promote the general welfare.” To that end, government does have a role to play in encouraging education and creating an atmosphere in which it can flourish, understanding that freedom is the atmosphere in which education will flourish best. Government’s greatest responsibility with regard to education is that of preserving the sovereignty of the family unit and protecting the God-given right and responsibility of parents to exercise exclusive jurisdiction where the education of their children is concerned. Beyond this, the only proper role for government in the field of education is to ensure that there is freedom of choice and competition in the marketplace of ideas.
When government creates an atmosphere that sets education free to flourish, there is liberty. When government mandates education, dictates the curriculum, controls the infrastructure, requires the general population to fund the system and compels parents to have their children taught according to the government prescribed standards, then there is tyranny.
It was folly on our part to allow government to confiscate the wealth of the general population, then use that wealth to effectively buy up, and hold hostage, the educational infrastructure of our society, including the educators – educators who are now hard pressed to find a decent paying job outside the government system because the funds that families would use for a private education have been taken through taxation for use in the state-operated system. Add to this compulsory attendance laws, and you have a defacto government monopoly in which the state controls both the means of production and distribution, sets the price of the product, then requires the entire population to purchase the product whether they use it or not. This is exactly what antitrust laws were designed to protect people from.
It was also folly on our part to allow compulsory attendance laws to be put into place. Not only does the concept of compulsory attendance fly in the face of freedom itself, but it stands in stark contrast to the 13th Amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude.
However, the real danger in compulsory attendance laws is that they effectively place the minds of an entire generation at the disposal of the state to shape at will. Anytime government chooses, it can flip the switch, change the curriculum, change the policies and change the worldview of a generation. This power has now been used to remove the acknowledging of God from the state-run educational institutions, thus effectively teaching a generation that, if there is a God (and there is!), He isn’t relevant to intellectual pursuits and the quest for knowledge. However, we know from the word of God that,“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge” (Prov 1:7 NLT). That means the government schools are now dispensing mere information apart from the foundation that turns the information into true knowledge.
Romans 11:36, in the Amplified translation, tells us, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it).”
True knowledge, and a correct understanding of the world around us, cannot be realized apart from comprehending how the subject at hand relates to its Creator from whom it originates, and in whom it consummates. I agree with my friend, political mentor and Constitution Party founder, the late Howard Phillips, that, “All Education is Religious, Government Must Get Out.” Educational instruction either acknowledges the Creator and teaches the relationship of all things to Him, or it denies the Creator and deprives the student of the context necessary for a correct understanding of all things.
This is about more than creation vs evolution, condoms, sex-ed or transgender restrooms. This is about the fact that children will either be taught a God-recognizing worldview, or a God-denying worldview. It’s about whether the next generation will have a frame of reference for the information placed into their heads, or be set adrift on a sea of relativism.
At this time of year, when we are once again inundated with “back to school sales,” and enrollment in fall classes is looming in parent’s minds, I believe we would do well to pause, ponder and reconsider the whole educational paradigm.
Are children properly wards of the state, assigned by God to be educated according to the dictates of a bureaucracy, or are they given by God to the stewardship of the family unit to “bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord?” (Eph 6:4 NLT) Has God given educational giftings among men for the equipping of state-operated institutions that prohibit the acknowledging of God and deprive students of the foundation of true knowledge? Even if the state-operated schools were to return to the acknowledging of God, is the dispensing and regulating of academic education a God-ordained function of civil government? If the answer to any of these is “no,” then how can we continue on this path and expect it to lead us to God’s blessings?
Before enrolling your children in classes this fall, I urge you to consider this presentation by Pastor Ray Moore, of Exodus Mandate, on “IndoctriNation – The Necessity for Christian K-12 Education.” Pastor Moore shows statistically the effect that the secularizing of education has had on children of Christian families.
If you don’t have school age children at home, then consider providing financial support to a local church school, private school or home schooling family so that others can better afford to opt out of the state-run system.
The idea of getting government out of the education business might sound like the work of an anarchist to some, but that’s only because we haven’t seen any other model for education in our lifetimes – we can’t imagine things any other way. However, just because we can’t imagine something doesn’t mean that it can’t be done, or that it isn’t the right thing to do. There was a time when we couldn’t imagine society functioning without the institution of slavery. There was also a time in America when government did not control the means and mandate the methods of education. That period produced the great minds, astute understandings and articulate writings of the American Founders.
Set parents free to be God’s stewards over the children He has committed to their charge and let them make the educational choices. Set children free to be taught in the atmosphere of a worldview that acknowledges the Creator of that world and thereby provides them a context for understanding the world around them. Set teachers free to educate with all of their God-given gifting, calling and anointing, being accountable only to the Lord and to parents. Set education free from the government monopoly that has held it hostage far too long.
If the idea of getting government out of the education business is a new concept that leaves you with questions about whether it should be done, how it could be done and how children would receive an education without the government’s assistance, you can visit the Alliance for the Separation of School and State for answers.