This piece originated in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, when a group of concerned citizens (including your webmaster) ran for school board on the banner of this platform. It is a call to parents, educators, spiritual leaders, and other concerned citizens to promote a return to reasonable and rational education standards -- reflecting the goal of total Separation of School and State.
CURE for Education is written to assist persons "stuck" in the government-controlled education system, looking forward to the time when America will recover its rugged individualism and take on again the task of educating itself apart from coercive bureaucratic control.
Our goal is total Separation of School & State,
generally the condition in America prior to the 1830's,
when we had the best educated and most literate population in the world.
Separation of School & State
The Constitutional Issue
God, Government, & the People
* SAT scores of American students have experienced a disastrous drop for three decades since 1963, the year immediately following the Supreme Court decision to outlaw prayer from schools;
* efforts to correct that drop have failed, so that a school system which was the best in the world is now after three decades one of the worst in nearly every category compared with other industrial nations;
* teen crime, in and out of American schools, has escalated dramatically during those same three decades, so that crimes in schools almost unheard of forty years ago are increasingly commonplace, including murder, rape, mugging, extortion, and carrying guns and knives to school;
* so-called "non-directive" modes of teaching, particularly in drug and sex education, have been proven by empirical testing and common sense to produce little effect at great cost, and often produce more, not less, drug use and sexual promiscuity;
* the slide in moral standards and climb in violence and abuse has precisely paralleled the desertion of the Judeo-Christian worldview, upon which America was founded and our Constitution written; and,
* citizen efforts across Pennsylvania and America to address these issues
have met with rebuff, disdain, and innuendo.
CURE therefore promotes:
1. restoration of parental payment for (and therefore control of) education through homeschooling and independent schools free from government interference in curriculum, attendance, and hiring.
2. because (and only so long as) government education still compels attendance, taxes the citizens whether or not they use government schools, and attempts to control curriculum and hiring, CURE also supports in government schools, a reasonable "back-to-basics" system of education, and the election of suitable candidates to boards of education and to other offices which impact community life.
In pursuit of the above, CURE supports independent and government school programs, and candidates for school boards, who adhere to the following principles:
Effective education requires a comprehensive, coordinated, and academically based philosophy of education, as defined in this section.
Education is understood to be:
"(1) the passing on of previously discovered knowledge to younger generations, and
(2) the equipping of students to test for truth that is still unknown."
(1) represents the legitimate conservative attitude, and (2) represents the legitimate liberal attitude.
Reasonable education therefore requires belief in objective truth, standing against the notion that the basic truths of life are relative. Objective truth is truth that is discovered and passed on, not invented as we go. Reasonable education addresses all issues of life, including academic aspects of spiritual and moral values.
Reasonable education is to set the student free to make practical and moral decisions according to his educated conscience, not to prepare students for conformity to a social image constructed by unelected and inaccessible social engineers and bureaucrats.
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CURE supports a free market form of education, requiring the freedom of all school boards from either state or federal control of curriculum. Only a free market system will promote a legitimately "pluralistic" society. A legitimate pluralism is one in which all views have equal opportunity to develop and express themselves in public debate.
A free-market education system is also necessary to put an end to government control by run-away bureaucracy and regulatory law, both of which are primary tools of wrongful and tyrannical government control of the people. ("Regulatory law" is imposed by unelected bureaucrats, whereas legislative (or statutory) law is imposed by elected legislators.)
In a freemarket system, parents are free to choose the type of school for their children according to their own conscience, without interference except in emergency situations. The following recommendations are therefore directed primarily at government schools where tax monies are levied from the public, attendance is mandatory, and the state controls the curriculum and hiring.
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Parents have original, primary, and inalienable jurisdiction (given by God, not by the state) over the raising and educating of their children. In legal terms, this is called a "fundamental" right, i.e. a right not derived from civil government. Civil government may intervene in family affairs only if required by overriding obligations of the state, e.g., if there is clear and evident danger to one or more family members. As civil government generally is responsible to its citizens, so school administrators and teachers are morally responsible to the parents of the children they educate.
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CURE desires to cooperate with all persons sharing a concern for quality of education, and sharing a belief in objective truth and objective moral values. CURE believes, however, that the only way to sustain a foundation of objective truth and objective moral values is through the Judeo-Christian worldview, and that, in fact, reasonable education must also be Godly education.
The ultimate solution for a genuinely pluralistic society is a totally
freemarket education system, with no civil government participation.
Government control of either education or religion is inherently contrary to
Periodic curriculum reviews should be conducted with parental input in each content area in conjunction with educational philosophy development.
Education should focus on traditional academic subjects, including the teaching of reading by intensive phonetic methods. It is not to focus on affective, behavioral, or value areas except for qualities necessary for academic education, e.g. courtesy, honesty, and punctuality.
No testing or remediation of a psychological or affective nature should be administered to students without prior written, informed consent of parents, guardians, or students of legal age.
All such remediation programs should have an "opt-in" elective, not an "opt-out", provision, and will be provided for those with identified problems, not the general student population. In no event is psychological or affective testing or remediation to be a part of ordinary curriculum material.
Sex and drug education (such as DARE), and so-called "death education" are examples of remedial education often aimed illegitimately at affective areas.
If sex and drug education courses are provided, abstinence and chastity
be taught as objective moral obligations, not as merely relative or situational
"choices". And they must be "opt in", not "opt out'.
School boards are not rightly the arms of state or federal departments of education, but represent the local and independent people who elect them. The school board should be responsible for developing a clear philosophy of education which it will share with its constituents. It will represent concerns of the people who pay for the education, maintains local autonomy in curriculum and of teacher and administration selection.
CURE therefore supports the following, in particular with respect to government schools:
Schools supported by taxes are "welfare" schools providing "welfare" education. They are one of the most powerful influences promoting a socialistic and bureaucratic kind of government which runs directly contrary to the limited government mandated by our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and common law tradition.
Government schools will no longer be permitted a "practicing monopoly" on education as exercised through taxation. A free market relation between public and private schools will be promoted, and not violated by any legislation.
Tax monies shall be raised and distributed in a manner to support local control and legitimate pluralism. It is immoral, for example, for government to take money from citizens and then coerce them to send their children to schools contrary to their conscience.
Coercive use of tax monies is another primary way government inflicts tyranny on law-abiding citizens: "We will not give back the money we took from you -- unless we control your decisions!" To help ensure local control, school districts must explore ways of funding education other than use of federal or state monies.
A "voucher" system in which tax monies may be used to support students in private education, whether religious or secular, will help maintain a free-market form of education if and only if the academic freedom of the schools involved is guaranteed and tax monies are not used to force compliance with a given curriculum or philosophy of education. This protection from government control is constitutionally required in the separation of coercive force from decision-making authority (see below). Preferably, voucher monies will be raised by independent charities rather than government agencies because government agencies manifestly destroy the personal relation between the giver and the recipient, and promote an addictive dependency on government funding.
Income taxes and property taxes tend to insert government into the citizen's private affairs, to isolate the citizen from control, and to give unresponsive bureaucracy uncontrollable access to the "deep pocket" of the citizenry, leading to runaway taxation and bureaucratic tyranny. School districts will be encouraged to explore other tax bases such as sales taxes, which include an element of citizen choice, rather than tax bases which tax in absence of consent -- again helping to return control from bureaucracy to the citizen.
The goal is the cessation of all taxation for education purposes, that is, the cessation of all welfare education.
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Civil government (coercive force), under God and under the American Constitution, has neither the obligation nor the right to ensure equal results among citizens, only equal access and equal opportunity. Thus we should explore other ways of helping less advantaged areas, returning to Church and other independent resources. Where tax funded aid remains, it should be under the authority of the locally elected representatives, not insulated from the people via state and federal bureaucracy.
Assistance, for example, might be handled as is foreign aid, that is, those jurisdictions in need can work with those other jurisdictions who have abundance, to whom they might apply for aid, to set the terms and conditions of the aid. This would set up a "free market" where the parties contributing and receiving, not a third party bureaucracy, would set terms and monitor results.
Third-party governmental involvement would be, where necessary, only as court referee to ensure the legal autonomy of each jurisdiction and fair compliance with contractual arrangements, not to define the terms and conditions of the arrangement, and not to determine curriculum taught in the school system.
CURE therefore supports honest charity (people helping people) not
(government "managing" people).
"Government" (according to Webster's Dictionary) is a combination of "direction" and "control". "Direction" is the choice made concerning the ultimate purposes and values of the country. "Control" is the coercion employed (ultimately a gun to your head) to enforce decisions enacted into law.
The American Constitution separates direction from control by giving control (the gun, coercive force) to government, and by giving direction (decision-making authority) to the people through elected representatives.
Education is inherently involved in the most authoritative of all decision-making -- deciding the values of the people. Education is always therefore a religious function. Education must therefore be separated from coercive control, and remain under the local direction of those being educated -- for precisely the same reasons that religious institutions must be separated from coercive force. The separation of educational institutions and state is mandated on the same terms as separation of religious institutions (churches, synagogues, etc.) and state. Government education must no longer be the "Church of Secular Humanism".
The American Constitution therefore forbids federal (and by implication,
state or local, since all government is "at gunpoint") government involvement in education. And federal law, in the
Education Provisions Act, section 432, states that the federal government
may not be involved in the direction or supervision of curriculum material.
Passage and strict enforcement of federal and state laws are required in
order to highlight this constitutional protection, and to protect local autonomy
in matters of curriculum and academic freedom.
CURE seeks a return to the relation between religion and government which was consistently held among the founding fathers and among nearly all Americans at the time of the War for Independence and writing of the three basic legal documents of America: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This understanding was supported by every relevant Supreme Court decision up through 1942. The American Constitution has been dangerously violated by the contemporary Supreme Court interpretation of the alleged "wall between Church and State" -- which is both historically, legally, and philosophically in error.
Properly understood, the "wall" is erected, not between government and religion, but between (1) coercive force which naturally belongs to government and (2) ultimate decision-making authority which belongs to the people in open public debate (i.e., in churches, schools, political parties, etc.). He who holds the gun (of coercive force) may not decide how that gun shall be used. The government may not make ultimate decisions, and the parties to the debate (such as religious or political parties) may not exercise coercion to win their way.
The government (executive branch) holds the gun, but the people (through the Constitution and elected legislators) tell the executive how to use the gun. Various parties in the debate cannot use the gun to "get their way", and likewise the executive branch, holding the gun, cannot participate in the debate. That is the constitutional "wall" between coercive force and decision-making authority -- inherent to a democratic republic and to the prevention of tyranny. This wall was created in the American constitution, perhaps for the first time in the history of government, although it had roots in English law (e.g. the Magna Carta) and much earlier in Biblical law.
The coercive use of tax monies (see above) to enforce equal results puts
the gun to the head of the citizens to comply with government and bureaucracy.
Decision-making is thus taken out of the hands of the people. A freemarket
system removes that gun excepting to protect equal opportunity and honesty
in contractual relationships.
Legitimate pluralism of ideas means equal and uncoerced access to the arena of discussion. It does not mean that truth is "relative" so that every view is equally right. Legitimate pluralism thus requires a free market education system. Differing viewpoints are enabled to enter the public discussion in a reasonable manner only as they are free to develop their own beliefs through education in their respective spiritual communities. All the various religions and philosophies among the people are to participate freely in the public debate over national values and identity-- an essentially religious debate. But each religion or philosophy must earn its place in public acceptance by the process of equal access to the public (especially legislative) debate.
No party to the debate is to have coercive force. Government (with coercive force) may act only to "referee" the debate to ensure honesty and freedom to participate, and then to enforce decisions arrived at, ultimately through democratically elected officials.
The role of government is therefore to protect the equal access of individuals and groups into the public market place and the debate (the vote) on public issues. That is our inalienable right "to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (or property, as earlier renditions better put it)."
inalienable right is to equal opportunity to pursue, not to equal results of
possession. Governmental attempts to insure (i.e., coerce at gunpoint through
education and taxation) equal results (rather than equal opportunity) must
increasingly control the private lives of citizens, inevitably leading to full
The authority of God is the primary protector -- both of the government against the people and of the people against the government.
The authority of God is the only substantial basis for objective moral obligation, and is thus the only basis for the authority of government. Apart from the command of God, civil government has no moral basis for demanding obedience, and in such case rules by force, not by moral authority. It is the command of God, not of the government, that obligates the citizens to obey the government. The law of God therefore protects the government against outlaw people.
The authority of God is also the only substantial basis for protecting the citizens against the government, i.e. for guaranteeing a citizen's "inalienable rights" against misuse of governing coercive force. Apart from the command of God, the people have no moral basis for demanding the obedience of the holder of the gun to obey the legislation enacted through their representatives. Because coercive force is inherent to government, temptation to self-serving misuse is inevitable. The purpose and command of God are the sole ultimate guarantee protecting academic, political, and personal freedom. That is the principle behind the Declaration of Independence notion that our freedoms come from the government of God, not from human government.
In a democratic republic, the governing role of the people is, in free and uncoerced
public debate, to exercise authority by discerning the will of God, which
is then given to government for enactment. Government is a servant
to the people, i. e., the government is to be obedient to the will of
the people under God.
There should be no federal involvement in education, government or independent, other than such training as may be necessary for the duties of government, e.g. the military.
There shall be no state control of attendance, curriculum, or graduation requirements of any school, whether or not tax supported.
Local control of education should gradually be given over to local independent schools as parents, churches, and others are willing to assume that role. In no case should ivil government at any level exercise control over home schooling or independent schools.
The force of law shall apply to government school employees, not students. The law may prescribe what government (not independent) school teachers must teach toward graduation, but not what students must learn for graduation -- beyond the minimal academic passing requirements, normally understood to be a "D" grade. Beyond eighteen years of age, leaving school will not be dependent on having met any set of requirements.
No student will be legally required as a condition of employment (as in School-to-Work programs) to have graduated from any school or passed any test -- other than as ordinarily understood in licensing procedures for public safety and protection. No law will otherwise intrude upon the freedom of employers and employees to decide among themselves as to training appropriate for employment.
Government will not insulate school or other employees from normal, legitimate forces of competition, supply, and demand, nor from merit considerations inherent to a free-market. Although ordinary and legitimate claims for job security should be honored, there will be no legal requirement for school teachers to belong to a union. In a free-market system, competition for good teachers will tend to prevent local school systems from firing good teachers for frivolous reasons.
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