It’s said you can boil a frog alive by simply putting it in a pot of water, then slowly turn the heat up. Incrementalism is a tactic employed to fundamentally transform our nation… our communities… our schools… and even our families, right before our eyes.
The public education industry – from most teacher colleges to teacher unions to the state departments of education to the federal Department of Education – is, without a doubt, predominantly Leftist in philosophy. Instead of teaching students to become self-sufficient, creative and competent individuals, they adhere to John Dewey’s anti-American ideal of schools instructing pupils into a “collective and cooperative mentality”, as was the educational model in Soviet Russia. John Dewey was a self-described Socialist, co-author of the Humanist Manifesto and credited as the father of Progressive Education.
Incrementalism has been employed within our public schools for several decades as a means to advance the progressive agenda of social change. Schools believe they know what’s best for children and since they are the enlightened experts parents must be conditioned to bend to their will. As schools have incrementally claimed more authority over our children, parents, for the most part, have taken the back seat… voluntarily, cooperatively and unaware of the shift.
Boil the frog slowly.
Gradually, over a span of decades, schools have consumed an ever-increasing portion of children’s lives under the guise of benevolence, socialization and well-being: school lunch and breakfast programs, before and after school programs, preschool programs, SAGE, Lighted Schoolhouse, a wide array of extra-curricular activities, summer school, guidance counseling, sex-ed, school-based health clinics… the list goes on and on. Once a new program has a foothold, it becomes nearly impossible to get rid of it without a well-orchestrated outcry of protest arising from parents, after all, letting the school provide their children with free meals… or daycare… or advice on child-rearing… or… well, you fill-in-the-blank makes life easier for parents, so why not let the school district help out, after all, it’s for the children… right?… and it’s free, so why not take advantage of it?
Well, it’s not free. There is a price to pay: the taxpayers pay for it… but so do the parents… and ultimately, the children… and society as a whole.
It may not, mind you, necessarily be “bad” to have some of these programs, but the ever-expanding reach of the public schools has trespassed far beyond it’s primary purpose of educating children to read and write and do arithmetic – which many schools are failing to do – and has become outright meddling and intruding upon the sacred domain of the family, where they are infringing on parental rights. We have a problem of great magnitude. Parental rights are under attack not only locally, but also from state and federal governments, by special interest groups and even internationally through efforts spearheaded by the United Nations.
And most parents are completely oblivious to this fact.
Boil the frog slowly.
A Virginia-based non-profit, PARENTALRIGHTS.org has a goal of Protecting Children by Empowering Parents. They are diligently working to achieve the addition of a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The proposed text is as follows:
The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.
The reference to international law is an effort to prevent the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) treaty from ever over-riding our Constitution and U.S. or state laws. Under this treaty:
- Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
- The best interest of the child would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.
- A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
- According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.
- Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
- Christian schools that refuse to teach “alternative worldviews” and teach that Christianity is the only true religion “fly in the face of article 29” of the treaty.
- Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
- Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.
- Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
- A murderer aged 17 years and 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
How can we help protect parental rights? We can all help by raising awareness on the issue and by contacting our U.S. Representatives and Senators, asking them to support the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Wisconsin Family Action supports this effort and can be contacted on this or any family, life or liberty issue here, in Wisconsin.
Parental rights are also at stake each time your local school board agrees to participate in a state or federal program because when they vote to sign the contract, they are, in effect, exchanging an additional measure of control over decision making and pupil privacy for dollars. Too often, the “carrot” is enough for administrators and school boards to eagerly hop on board – without understanding the consequences or even reading the documents. In reality, the money offered is rarely enough to actually cover the costs, so taxpayers pay more. And so, we often hear school boards and administrators complain about “unfunded mandates”.
As President Ronald Reagan so brilliantly described it:
“We developed at the local school district level probably the best public school system in the world. Or it was until the Federal government added Federal interference to Federal financial aid and eroded educational quality in the process.”
A case in point is the federal “Race to the Top” program, most recent in a litany of government initiated so-called “education reforms”, where states compete against each other to be awarded funding in exchange for contracts granting the federal government more control over local school operational decisions.
To most school boards and administrators – as well as state legislators and governors, eager to increase district funding and who are easily swayed by the hype, the carrot on the stick was enough to get them to sign on the dotted line. The terms of the binding MOU were vague and did not explain exactly what would be required of school districts, nor did it contain a specified end date. In effect, school boards and administrators were signing a blank contract.
Through my research, it became apparent the money being offered would not begin to cover the costs – and far worse, was the loss of privacy and control inherent with the program.
One of the mandates under Race to the Top, demands each student and teacher be “profiled”. Tell me, why is it OK to profile our children and teachers – but not terrorists?
Fortunately, Wisconsin did not make the cut last year in the “Race to the Top”. However, it’s expected there will be another round beginning soon, this time targeted at our very youngest children. Pray we may be so lucky as to dodge the bullet again and that Congress will finally take a stand and stop the insane spending.
Many efforts to erode parental authority are not accompanied with the fanfare of a federal program promising the pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow. They occur quietly, where you least suspect it. This is why it is vitally important for parents to be involved with their children’s education.
How often, do parents of children attending public schools, relinquish their rights to teachers, school administrators, school psychologists or guidance counselors because they are viewed as the “experts”? Maybe, just maybe the parent lacks the self-confidence to challenge them? Or, perhaps, parents simply trust them to do the right thing and it never occurs to them to suspect otherwise? Ask yourself, are you so sure the school agrees with your personal set of values and morals? Sometimes, parents are afraid to speak up because they don’t want to rock the boat… they feel intimidated… they don’t want to be singled out – or risk their child suffering some sort of repercussion – whether it originates from the school itself or peers? If so, that’s a cop out. Regardless of the reasoning or situation, often, when parents allow schools to call the shots, it is without even being aware they are sacrificing their own children to the system.
Even though a parent may have objections or reservations, if they do not speak up, they are, by default, allowing the school to seize more decision-making power and little by little assume a defacto parental role in the child’s life as they marginalize parents.
Boil the frog slowly.
To the parents, consider this carefully: Are you a passive or proactive parent?
Before signing any document, do you take the time to actually read it and make sure you understand what it is you may be granting permission? Don’t be afraid to call the school and ask, if you are not sure. And by all means, don’t be afraid to say “No”.
My advice to parents? Listen to that voice inside. Trust your gut instincts. After all, you are the expert when it comes to YOUR child, not the school, and, most importantly, your child depends on you to stand up for them by making decisions which are in their best interest while reflecting your own family values and moral beliefs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or lodge complaints, if necessary. If there’s a problem, discuss it with the teacher. If the issue is not resolved, take it up the chain of command: to the principal… then the superintendent… and your school board. After all, you elect them to represent you. It’s part of the job.
I’m here to tell parents be empowered. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your child, your family values, because it’s your duty… your responsibility… your right as a parent. Don’t let anyone discourage or prevent you from exercising good judgement and your God-given parental authority… ever.
In closing, I’d like to quote wise words from President Ronald Reagan:
“There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”