Silence can be deadly. When lives are threatened, and those in a position to help refuse to speak out, they become a link to the tragic outcome. How can one remain silent when lives are being destroyed? This moral question was dramatically asked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the world’s nations, when he remained silent for 25 seconds in the midst of an address to the United Nations.[i] Why the silence?!
Silence on education is not golden
The same question applies here in our own chambers of government, be it Congress or any of our state legislatures. Why the silence in addressing a core issue that is wrecking havoc upon all society by condemning our nation’s children to government imposed education. Whether measured against other nations, or carefully observed from inside, millions of our nation’s youth are being subjected to a substandard education that leads to a life of misery.
Education is the nursery of all society. Poverty, crime, corruption, family disruption and moral decline are all directly traceable to declining education. The high school graduation rate in many of our urban public schools hovers at about 50 percent[ii], and we “are producing more products for the ‘prison industrial complex’ than we are for college,” according to Keith Benson, vice-president, Camden County East NAACP.[iii]
The transformation of education, from parental control to government control, occurred in quick succession in the early 1960s. The liberty, for which countless courageous patriots gave life and limb, was cast onto the garbage heap of history, by transferring and entrusting the education of our precious children to government educrats. Just as families cannot wage war, government is incapable of raising children. This was demonstrated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Engel v. Vitale decision of 1962, which ruled that “public” schools may no longer support faith in a Supreme Being to whom we are all accountable for our actions.[iv]
The Declaration of Independence states …“they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”… Along with these rights we also have responsibilities to maintain a just, moral and orderly society. Prior to the decade of the 1960s the American family managed to convey these responsibilities, free from government intrusion.
Five months prior to that Supreme Court decision, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order #10988 creating public employee unions, which effectively transformed public servants into public masters. For example, teachers unions alone now report a total of 4.8 million members.[v] At three times the size of the United States Armed Forces, they have all the money and power needed to take control of the entire educational system.
The sum of these two dramatic transfers of power in 1962 was quickly followed by the blunder of the century, when educrats all across the country introduced into the classroom the most delicate and personal of family matters, devoid of such elements as ethics and moral values.[vi] The results of this tragic experiment are now plain for all to see, and have only recently revealed the unthinkable regarding unwanted newborn babies.[vii]
Choice can remedy this disaster
Ironically, the remedy for this mind-boggling, ever-expanding tragedy has been in place prior to the 1960s. The late world-renowned economics professor Milton Friedman addressed this in his 1955 treatise The Role of Government in Education.[viii] Just as all products and services depend on competition for high quality and efficiency, the same applies to education. His plan – to empower all parents to send their children to quality schools of their choice – will not only restore liberty, it will also improve the quality and efficiency of education and save taxpayers many billions of dollars.
“We Americans have fought, and some have paid the ultimate sacrifice, for our freedoms and the liberties that we enjoy. Yet, for some reason, we are still unable to provide parents with the fundamental right to send their children to the school of their choice.” These are the words of Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Jr. (NJ-25), as he introduced his universal school choice bill to the public. The NJ Parental Rights and Property Tax Reduction Act (S1106/A1785) will empower all New Jersey parents to send their children to quality schools of their choice at a fraction of the current cost.[ix]
His dad, Senator Anthony Bucco, Sr. (NJ-25), a prime sponsor of the bill in the NJ Senate, said, “We can present bills. They may be the best bills around, but if the majority party does not want to move those bills they do not get moved. And that’s going to continue to happen, unless all of you, along with the rest of your families, friends and relatives start to apply pressure to your individual legislators, whether they are in the Assembly or in the Senate, to move this bill.”
There is not a shadow of a doubt that a strong and steady drumbeat in all 40 New Jersey legislative districts – especially now, prior to Election Day – will have the very same impact as other mighty political forces of the past, which have succeeded in expanding liberty and justice. All that is required is that every concerned individual take the action required to eliminate the question: Why the silence?!
Israel Teitelbaum is a cofounder of Alliance for Free Choice in Education. He can be reached at Israel@SchoolChoiceNJ.org.
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