Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Choice in Education

The restoration of a parental sovereignty, so that they may direct the education of their child, without monetary penalty or political prejudice.

This can be partially accomplished by returning the fullness of choice in education to all parents and children. As it currently stands in the State of Idaho, parents can choose to home school or they can send their children to a private or charter school. However, opting out of the State sponsored education system currently brings with it a huge financial penalty in tuitions and additional fees. Accordingly, only the children of the more wealthy families or families that choose to sacrifice other personal luxury have the ability to teach their children at home or attend institutions that offer a higher level of educational opportunities or better suits the needs of the child (as determined by the person who can best judge a child individually; the parent). This class prejudice certainly limits the educational opportunities of lower income households, single parents and minorities to name a few. This apparent imbalance can be remedied two ways.

The Statist solution- Outlaw private schools, charter schools and home schooling. This solution would demand an equal opportunity to mediocrity. Obviously this would guarantee an equal state sponsored means of education but not guarantee an equal ends or outcome. This solution, although “fair” is not in line with the principals of freedom, upon which our nation or state was founded.

The second option (the favorable option) would be to allow each parent the discretion to spend the education dollars allocated for their child in the way they think best suits the needs of the child individually. This method would ensure each parent and child an equal footing on their quest of education and ultimately their “Pursuit of Happiness.”

Proposal outline

Funding- The source of the funding for education for the time being shall remain as it is; a disproportionate levy from the citizens placed into the fund for the collective, and sales of state owned natural resources, such as timber. Additional funding is received from the National Government. The Constitutionality and efficiency of National funding are not addressed in this proposal.

Distribution- Each parent (if they choose to exercise the their Liberty) will receive a check or automatic deposit in account (in the amount of the state median education allocation for the child at appropriate grade level), bimonthly to use as a medium of exchange that the parent may use to fulfill the State’s stated educational objective standards for a student of the appropriate grade level, either solely (claimed as regular income in the case of a home school parent) or by sub-contract (Private School). The State’s only concern is that of, “Investment=Objective.” If a parent or private school (in cooperation with the student) perform in an efficient enough manor to achieve the standard educational objective in less hours or days than customary, the State remains dis-interested in the students/private institutions use of the “surplus time.”

Qualifications- (home school) Each parent that actively participates in home schooling and receives state dollars, must have a minimum GED qualification, and may only teach their child, natural or legally adopted. Parents may join in groups and teach in groups, with minimum requirements but one parent without teaching credentials may not teach groups of kids without the other parents present. Each parent must yield to random drug testing; positive test will result in discontinuation of funding.

Qualifications (private school) - All core curriculums must be taught by a properly documented teacher; no such requirements are considered on non-core classes or electives. Since the state is paying the parents directly rather than the state all classes, religious or otherwise are exempt from state oversight. Each teacher must yield to a background check and random drug testing.

Standardized testing-Each child must take a standardized test at the beginning and end of each school year, as a means to judge performance and as a comparison to other children of equal age and grade level. Comparative performance evaluation will determine individually, the continued funding each child’s non-state education (performance based). Private schools performance evaluation will be judged on the same scale as public schools and any probationary action will not exceed that of a public school. Home school parents that do not receive funding are not bound to this arrangement.

Diploma- The State will issue a standardized diploma to all students that complete the required objective curriculum, without implied discrimination or special document designation such as GED.

The Case for Choice

Anytime money is taken from the public whether proportionately or disproportional their must be a purpose for the seizure of the funds. We have taken for granted that education is a worthy cause, however the word education itself is subjective to the point of being liquid. What I mean by liquid is that whoever is in charge of the administration of education can determine what is of value, and what is not, based upon their individual values; money flows like liquid to serve their wants. What we are in dire need of is an objective, Objective. We must define what education is exactly, in order to “justify” the seizure of money from those who would otherwise be free to give or spend what they have earned in other ways that perhaps meet their values more closely. An objective is essential in any governmental affair whether it be war or education…what does victory look like? Of course each state has the right to design its objective; either minimalist or extravagant. Whatever the objective is it must not have vague statements like “instill values” and “social preparation” for those objectives are ones of the family and not the state.

Benefits of Education Choice

Monetary- It is proven in every case, the free market drives innovation progression and reduces costs; traits governmental monopolies invert as proven. As better methods are discovered and as the wheat is separated from the chaff only the best and most efficient will be teaching.

Economic- With many parents of elementary students choosing to stay home and educate their kids, many jobs would open up, driving the unemployment rate down and likely wages up (shortage of supply means prices go up). Additionally this wide spread distribution of earned money will move through the economy unfettered by governmental and union cronyism. Choice in education means jobs.

Family Values- It is quite normal in this day and age for both parents to work, leaving only a few hours of interaction in the evenings. This has broken the family apart. Many working moms bring home a mere pittance after the cost of child care and transportation is accounted for. With an allowance of $7000 per child a mother of three might just stay home to teach her own kids for a few years; years that will never come again.

Less legal drugs (ADD) - Almost everyone agrees Ritalin if the most over prescribed drug in the world. It is often prescribed as an alternative to discipline, to control an unruly child (mostly boys).

Less Illegal drugs – Children are largely a blank slate. Humans in general have very few natural instincts; therefore there behavior is determined by observing the behavior and interaction of other humans. One instinct humans have however is the desire to love and be loved. An assumed prerequisite to love is acceptance, therefore children crave the acceptance of other children, but they must learn how to be accepted. Children gain the understanding of how to be accepted from their parents their peers and popular culture. This is where quantity of impression often over rides the quality of advice. In other words inexperienced kids learn more from other inexperienced kids and popular culture, then they do from the wisdom of their parents; they spend so much more time observing the former than the latter. Behavior is developed by monkey see monkey do. Drug use alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, bullying are all unquestionably detrimental to the physical and psychological well being of a child, and not a result of parental advice. The monopoly of state controlled education forces, particularly the lower class children into this self perpetuating sociological disaster.

Reduce “hard” curriculum- Hard or physical curriculum such as text books are expensive to produce and become quickly out dated. Alternative education, free of state mandates may use online curriculum to achieve the educational objectives.

Reduce Capital expenses and maintenance- Public schools have massive overhead. Buildings, maintenance, lighting, heating cooling, busses, other vehicles, insurance of all kinds, are just a few examples. Any government program once inception takes upon a life of its own. Almost human, it has two desires, protection and growth. Naturally the larger it grows the less manageable it becomes. Lacking competition it casts off the shackles of accountability in times of plenty and expands far beyond the ability to maintain itself in times of shortage. The free market manages growth decisions by forecasting, perhaps influencing, human choice, and reacting to human action.

Improve the outcome- Free market education consistently and significantly out performs its public counterpart. In this case the ends should mandate the means.

More educated parents- Home school parent particularly find great value and enrichment while preparing a lesson plan or teaching a child. Both parent and child win in this arrangement.

Population Growth (the right kind) – Any legislation effects economic growth positively or negatively; but all growth is not good. For instance, several states are in the process of using their legal prerogative to nullify unconstitutional federal drug laws, by legalizing marijuana. This will have two effects: people who want to use marijuana without threat of legal action will move in and those who do not wish to live in a “high society” will move out. Perhaps the exchange in numerical population will be equal but will the economic effect be equal? Will the net production of the state be improved by this exchange? Logic gives us an answer that will most certainly be disputed by the “social engineers”; I’ll choose logic. Likewise will the Choice in Education option affect the demographics of our state. As I have experienced over the years, the quality of schools is one of the top factors when a person makes a real estate buying decision. In turn I believe, the freedom for a parent to choose the environment and ultimately influence the destiny of their child will also play a strong role when deciding which state to call home. One who makes a decision with these factors in mind and opts for freedom, is more likely to bring with them an industrious nature and moral convictions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sentinels of the Republic Foundations

We the Sentinels of the Republic, recognize two primary documents as the foundation for our beliefs in matters pertaining to government and the People. Those two documents are, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (including the first ten amendments; The Bill of Rights).

The Declaration of Independence serves as witness and record to posterity, that man is born with “certain Unalienable Rights” granted by God, not by man or by government, and that any infringements upon these rights are not just to be frowned upon but a cause for a fight to the death. Furthermore we recognize The Declaration enumerates specific grievances against the King. These specific grievances were laid out in an orderly fashion, not only for the King and for the sovereign People of the several States, but for the generations to come, that we may know exactly what a tyranny looks like and weigh all laws, taxes and governmental actions against this picture of a tyranny. We also believe that, the signers of The Declaration by its strength of its words and their mark of signature and endorsement, left no doubt that the principles and charges within, were so important, their very lives were worth forfeiting in the purpose of the advancement of its principles. The Declaration of Independence is the mission statement of the United States of America, the spirit of its people and the most orthodox document on record when the “spirit” or intent of The Constitution is in question.

The Constitution of the United States of America is the foundation of our Republic. In a Republic the “Law is King” and not government officers or representatives. In the US, The Constitution is King and the only supreme authority in matters between man, the States and the national government. It is imperative to understand that The Constitution is a compact between the States by the People. It’s a written understanding of how they (the states and the People) will relate to their created being, their servant; the national government. It is also very important to understand that the States created the national government not the inverse and that it was only created, after each state agreed.

In a case such as ours, where the power is held in an inanimate object, those who lust for power find refuge in word-smithing, revisionism and legal jargon as a means to confuse the people and seize power. They wish for you to believe that the document is “living” and will change with the times or they would like you to believe it is too complicated fro the common man to grasp; neither is true. As evidenced by the historical record, The Constitution was written for the common man to understand, and each word was chosen painstakingly as not to be misunderstood or convoluted to serve the desires of a tyrant. Understanding this, we must specify quite simply how The Constitution must be interpreted in full orthodoxy.

The most primary sources for Constitutional interpretation

1) The Declaration of Independence (see prior)

2) The Preamble to The Constitution. This often ignored segment of the Constitution is probably the most important. The Preamble is the Executive Summary. Any interpretation of the Constitution that conflicts with the Preamble is quite suspect. For instance, the excerpt, “…secure the Blessings of Liberty”, tell us three things…Blessings are from God, hence the capitalization, Liberty is a gift from God, and first and foremost the Constitution is set apart to SECURE the Blessings of Liberty. Secure is a strong word indeed and notably chosen over the word “promote” which is also used in The Preamble.

3) Documents, letters and meeting minutes of discussions on The Constitution, recorded BEFORE its ratification, ONLY. These documents include, The Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, The Articles of Confederation and such. It is important that we exclude writings from any of the founders after the date of ratification, no matter how artfully written. Revisionism started the day after ratification.

4) Period dictionaries- Our language changes with each generation. Strong words become weak and visa-versa. As mentioned before, every word was carefully chosen in the Constitution and the Declaration, therefore we must not assume modern day meanings are accurate. One such instance is in what is known as the “Commerce Clause.” In that clause the word regulate was used. Today regulate is synonymous with control or overlord, however in the day of the Constitution it meant, “to make regular; the meaning is astonishingly different.

Finally, it is important to grasp that The Constitution involves three parties: The Sovereign People of the States, The States and the created being, the United States National government. The Constitution enumerates certain powers that the National government must carry out, and strictly forbids any activity beyond those prescribed limits. Furthermore the Constitution also reserves any other imaginable power, to the States or the People. As an amplification to the intent of the Constitution, The Bill of Rights was added to protect the People and the States from the National government, and the People from injustice from the States as well.