In her latest column, Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O"Fallon, offers her views on education, which mainly amount to the idea that taxpayers should foot the bill for private school education and homeschooling since parents who opt for those choices are thinking more about their children's education anyway. The column is printed below:
Last week was the 50th anniversary celebration of Citizens for Educational Freedom (CEF). This was so important because it brought out a diverse group of people all committed to one goal---helping parents to help their children achieve their maximum potential. This organization is committed to promote the primary rights of parents to pursue freedom of choice, justice and quality in education for all. These economically difficult times should inspire us toward vigilance to assure our tax dollars are being used in the most equitable manner.
As the mother of seven children, I can attest to the reality that all children have a variety of educational needs and responses to different environments. It is shortsighted to assume that what is best for one is best for all. Children need to be considered individually and put into the learning structure that will allow them to thrive. In addition, many come from homes where their parents cannot afford any other option besides public school. We need to consider the whole person and support whatever options will be of greatest benefit to the students. The best answer is to allow the parents to decide what will help their child the most.
When families feel it is best to put their children into an alternative educational setting, they receive no credit or appreciation for having made such sacrifices. Private school or homeschooling requires far more parental time, transportation expenses and tuition or curriculum acquisition with no assistance from the government, even thought these parents also subsidize the government public schools through property taxes. This structure can make alternative education choices prohibitive to parents who are on the lower end of the economic ladder. Citizens for Educational Freedom believes that parents, regardless of income, should decide where their children will attend school. Through programs that allow choice, all families will be treated equally, competition among schools will be fair, and the quality of education will improve for everyone.
Instead of perceiving children’s education to be the job of the schools, we need to see that it is the parent’s job to assure their children are educated and the schools exist to assist in that goal.
(Photo: Cynthia Davis is shown with Mae Duggan, founder of Citizens for Educational Freedom and Mrs. Duggan's husband, Martin.)