Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Education Must Return to Basics

A Hamilton-area father is suing his local school board for refusing to exempt his children from classes dealing with sexually sensitive topics. The media vilified him with editorials and cartoons. Letters both for and against the father have been printed. 

I see the issue as one of social engineering by the government. My unpublished September 12,2012 email to the Toronto Star.

Families are the primary source of children's education. This editorial makes the error of giving education authority solely to bureaucrats and politicians, some of whom don't even have children. 

The editorial speaks as if any objection to an imposed curriculum challenges the entire system. Those who object are also taxpayers. They too have the right to speak out when they believe the system has gone awry. Democracy works, not by ignoring objections, as you advocate, but by listening and trying to accommodate. It is unfair to characterize objectors as wanting "to impose their agenda". Are they not entitled to challenge the imposition of another's agenda?

When the state imposes its agenda without consulting the people, dissent follows. In some European countries homeschooling is illegal. Parents have gone to jail and parents relieved of all rights to see their children again. The presumption over there, and in your editorial, is that Big Brother knows best. Does diversity extend to everyone? Or is it limited to those with whom we agree? 

Our education system went wrong when it began teaching matters beyond it authority. It must return exclusively to the basics of literature, language, history, the sciences and other core subjects. Anything beyond that is an unwarranted intrusion into family rights.

In reaction to many letters in the Toronto Star of September 15, 2012, I sent this letter, also unpublished.

Most of the disputants in this matter have missed two vital issues. The first is that parents are the primary and essential teachers of their children. To describe teachers as "co-parents" is an attack on family rights. 

Secondly, this is not a dispute about acceptance, as some writers claim and as the Star editorialized (Pulling kids from class, Sept 12). 

Underlying the original request to remove students from certain classes is a plea for a return of our educational system to the exclusive teaching of core subjects, a return to basics. That is what most parents want and expect. 

Politicians and the education bureaucracy have arrogated to themselves sole authority in such matters. That's a touch of arrogance that  must be reversed by instituting compulsory consultation with parents before such programs are introduced into the system.