Hudson and Fournier: Catholic Countdown to Election 2012. True Educational Reform Passes Through School Choice
On this fifth day before the election we address another public policy position where the two candidates have profoundly divergent views - the path to educational reform
The current approach to education is failing miserably and our children are suffering. Statistics and experience confirm the obvious. It is time for a change and school choice is that change. It means affirming again, as a matter of public policy and legislation, that Parents are the ones who should be able to make the choice of how to best extend their own teaching mission outside of the home for their children.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic online) - We are five days away from what we claim is one of the most important Presidential elections in US History. We have tried to help fellow Catholic citizens understand their vital role in shaping the future of this Nation we love through exercising their faithful citizenship.
We have exposed the errant positions of some Catholics in public life and said, without hesitation, that one simply cannot be a faithful Catholic and hold what is euphemistically called a "pro-choice" position on abortion - or fail to defend true marriage and the family and society founded upon it.
We have discussed the difference between non-negotiable matters which concern intrinsic evils - and those areas which allow for the exercise of prudential jugment. Given their numbers, U.S. Catholics can determine the outcome of this election.
That requires us to act in a manner which is, to use words of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "morally coherent". That phrase was used in an instruction released in 2002 entitled a "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life".
On this fifth day before the election we address another public policy position where the two candidates have profoundly divergent views - the path to educational reform. The current overly federalized approach to the provision of education in the United States is failing miserably and our children are suffering.
Statistics and experience confirm the obvious. It is time for a change and school choice is that change. It means affirming again, as a matter of public policy and legislation, that Parents are the ones who should be able to make the choice of how to best extend their own teaching mission outside of the home for their children.
On May 23, 3012, Mitt Romney outlined his educational policy in a speech he gave in Washington, DC to the Latino Coalition. The speech was based upon a larger policy statement contained in a white paper which explains the reforms entitled "A Chance for Every Child" which can be read in its entirety here.
Romney told the leaders "I'll be blunt, I don't like the direction of American education and, as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids in this great land." He said bluntly that many students in the United States receive a "third world education" and that "minority children suffer the most."
"Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don't meet their needs. And for too long, we've merely talked about the virtues of school choice. As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school."
"For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it."
President Obama has not endorsed school choice. Though he reversed his earlier position opposing the Opportunity Scholarship program in Washington, DC, he has proposed an increased role for the Federal government as the path to educational reform. We disagree.
Those who oppose school choice, such as the President and some leaders of the teachers union, call it an effort to "privatize" education. In fact, it is an effort to "Parentize" education. It affirms that that the family is the first school and first government. It insists that parents should make the choices concerning the education of their children outside of the first school of the home.
Those who support school choice call for enabling legislation which makes it possible for all parents, no matter what their socio-economic situation, to choose where to send their children to school. This choice would be available from among a full array of options including public, private, parochial, virtual, charter and home schools.
This can be accomplished in a constitutionally sound way by empowering parents to make this vital choice through properly drafted legislation, tax credits, or opportunity scholarships. Governor Romneys position on education follows the child and is made by the parents and not the Federal Government.
Those who oppose school choice, including President Obama, resort to scare tactics in their opposition. They argue that it will detrimentally ...
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