From the April 2010 Idaho Observer:

The Trojan Horse of "Choice"

by Kathy Thomsen

Supporters of school choice options are primarily motivated by economics. First, they view choice as a “God-send” for parents forced to bear the burden of double taxation–paying taxes for the government school system they seek to escape while simultaneously paying tuition for the private education of their choice. Second, they believe funding will make private school financially feasible for those who desire it. Third, they hope competition will force public schools (who have existed in a virtual monopoly with no threat of repercussion) to provide quality education. And fourth, they are convinced that choice is the only real hope of breaking the monopoly of public education which will be replaced with greater diversity and freedom. 

Those opposed to public funding of private education come from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum.  The Democratic Party, teachers unions and most public school officials have vehemently opposed school choice, believing it will result in the demise of public education as the student body and attendant funding dwindle. On the other hand, the opinion of this writer and many other grass root conservatives is that while there may be short term benefits for free enterprise, the long term impact of public funding for private education would be the functional destruction of Christian education.

In the beginning…

The origin of “choice” in education is not grassroots America, but the Department of Education and various public and private entities. They are using school choice as the catalyst to restructure the educational environment by penetrating all private and home schools in this country in order to maneuver Americans into a world government with a global view of education, citizenship and society. The ultimate goal is uniformity and internationalization of all education. Choice is designed to stem the tide of public discontent with the State’s educational system while bringing all private education under government control. You don’t believe it?  Consider these words of Lauro F. Cavazos who served as U.S. Secretary of Education under President Bush: “School choice is the cornerstone for restructuring America’s system of elementary and secondary education.”  (Source: Improving Schools and Empowering Parents, p. 111) 

Don’t buy-in to the sellout

Other pushers of educational “choice” include the United Nations (educational choice was one of the prime objectives of “The First Global Conference on the Future” held in Toronto, Canada in 1980); the New American Schools Development Corporation; The Friedman Foundation (whose founder, Keynesian economist Milton Friedman, has promoted school choice since 1955); the American Legislative Exchange Council; the Department of Education (whose publication “America 2000: An Educational Strategy” lists “choice in education” as one of their top goals);Goals 2000 (Public Law 103-227 mandates the use of federal funds to promote charter schools); and parents (governmental funds flowing to the parent will bring pressure upon the school to comply to the “World Class Standards”), colleges, businesses and the courts.

Co-opted Christians unwittingly consent to compromise

While school choice was the brainchild of those advocating an international plan for total world government in which all students are educated by the state to meet “world class” standards, school choice has become one of today’s most broad-based movements enjoying the support of moderate and conservative Americans alike–including a host of Christian organizations. The deceiver must do his evil with the aid and coalition of “good people.” Choice will eliminate opposition by an unsuspecting populace who will be lead into socialism by their own free will.

There’s always free cheese in the mousetrap

A simple fact of political life is that government regulates what it finances. No exceptions. It must; to expect anything less of government is to remove from the State its legitimate responsibility to the people in the spending of tax dollars. To expect federal funds without federal controls is to exhibit a total ignorance of the law. Control comes in the form of accountability: private schools receiving public funding must meet minimum State standards by passing State Assessments or risk loss of students/funds and possible take-over/closure for non-complying schools by the State. To keep private activity free it’s financing must be kept private.

Christians deceived by the outstretched hand

Christian schools must remove moral ethics, Americanism and Christianity from their curriculum in order to make room for the global, evolutionary philosophy of secular humanism or fail the State Assessment. That would result in disgruntled parents “voting with their feet” and removing their children from “failing” schools to place them in a school with higher test scores. In reality, the federal government is banking upon parental ignorance and greed to force private and Christian schools to submit to the federal guidelines. Private schools must choose between public financial assistance or the freedom of autonomy that allows them to maintain their Christian directives and values. To participate in the choice program, a school must recognize the authority of the state over its ministry and must be willing to submit to the guidelines as established by the state. The state standards are politically-correct “world class” standards based on an antithetical world view.

All that glitters is not gold 

Today’s Christian schools were built on faith. Parents and parishioners, preachers and principals fell to their knees petitioning God to supply their needs. Sometimes a financial belt-tightening was in order – smaller homes, older cars, fewer luxuries – all gladly endured to provide a Godly, wholesome academic education for the children God had entrusted and charged parents, NOT the State, with the responsibility of educating. And then Uncle Sam cast his benevolent eye upon private education. Suddenly the financial storehouse of the God who owns ‘the cattle on a thousand hills’ was inadequate. The State will now meet and supply every need. The very state that has unsuccessfully tried every coercive and persuasive measure to force Christian schools from the fold, now offers the glitter of gold...and voila! Easy money sans sacrifice, faith and prayers appears. Will a few ‘free’ greenbacks woo the wayward sheep? The impregnable wall that has withstood modern day persecution will be ineffectual against the enemy if they are invited in the gate. 


Assurances of Codified Protection 

Drafters of school choice legislation attempt to convince patrons that laws can be crafted with appropriate language to assure complete autonomy that protect private schools. Abundant evidence proves such assurances cannot be trusted. Legislation that has failed to pass only results in a more carefully worded bill introduced in the next session to lure the schools into the clutches of the federal government. Though couched in language that appears to protect the school, in reality, the right of private Christian schools to operate by their Biblical standards of conviction is clearly compromised. Over time, the legislature will chip away all freedom. What will happen to that ‘airtight’ legislation during a more liberal administration?

 School choice will eliminate all freedom of choice by forcing the State mandated curriculum to be implemented. Liberty and the freedom to choose is our inalienable right. Freedom can be assured when the people are free to choose the curriculum. Government supported schools can NEVER produce freedom. This is raw socialism which is always sold to the people on the platform of democracy.


Are Charter Schools the Answer?

The waiver of state regulations has tempted many school districts to establish magnet or specialized charter schools. Idaho Charter Schools are under the general supervision of the State Board of Education whose members are appointed by the Governor.  Charter Schools DO NOT increase local control. While local school boards are charged with the responsibility of ensuring each charter school meets the terms of its charter, any local board decision to revoke (or refuse to renew) a charter may be appealed directly to the State Board of Education. Bill Denman of Taxpayers United for Freedom observes: “This removes control from the local elected school board and gives it to the State. Funding for Idaho Charter Schools comes from the State Department of Education, which takes away all local control over funding. Existing public schools may be converted to Charter status. Charters are managed under the Idaho nonprofit corporation act for which there is no requirement for public disclosure of financial affairs. So, a school that was paid for and maintained by local tax money that transfers to a charter status has no financial responsibility to the taxpayers who paid for it.”  Charter schools remove public accountability from the taxpayer. 

While charter schools are released from state regulations, they are un-Constitutionally controlled by federal laws, including Goals 2000 which minimize academics. School choice removes all choice for Charter Schools because they all must conform to federal guidelines. The driving force behind the spread of charter schools is federal funding via Goals 2000. The general public is not aware that Charter Schools and Goals 2000 with its Opportunity-to-Learn Standards are one and the same. 

Charter Schools are OBE (outcomes based education) fast track schools created to test out new federal fads and experiment with “innovative” educational structures and ways of testing students in order to restructure all education and job training in America.


Land of the Subsidized and Home of the Compromised

The voucher system seems eminently reasonable to those who have difficulty seeing past their own pocketbooks. Vouchers provide a way for parents to give their children the benefits of private school without having to pay extra for it. Payment would be handled simply by transferring to approved private schools the money that would otherwise go into government schools. The end result of vouchers is the State exercising complete control over what used to be called “private” education. 

 The invoice for private or homeschooling one’s children should be paid in full by the individual parents who make that choice. It is not the responsibility of taxpayers in Orofino or Orlando to pay my tuition tab! To take money from others without their permission to pay for my child’s private education is wrong, even if it is legal.  Frederic Bastiat calls it “legal plunder.”  God calls it “stealing.”  Socialists call it “wealth redistribution”, one of the basic planks of the Communist Manifesto.

Think Biblically, Act accordingly  

School choice is a departure from the very Biblical principles that brought our Pilgrim fathers to the New World. Pastor James R. Patrick eloquently writes: 

“We all take pride in our national heritage. We glory in the dedication of our Pilgrim fathers’ deep religious convictions which caused them to risk and, in many cases, sacrifice their very lives to establish a colony wherein they might be free to worship God according to their consciences rather than the dictates of the state. They would suffer prison and even death to maintain their religious freedoms. Never would they compromise the Biblical truths of God’s Word by placing the authority of the state over that of the church. To revert back to an acceptance of, yea, even an appeal to the state to gain financial aid can only result in states control over ministries of the church, for in order to bring this about, the school must be a ‘lawfully’ operating school. That word ‘lawfully’ must meet the government’s definition, which is, in reality, a license to operate.” 

 When the nation of Israel rejected God and demanded a king, she lost the right to control her properties, her freedom and her children. When Israel realized her error, it was too late. Freedom had slipped from her grasp. The nation of Israel died of suicide; death came by her own hand. If all goes according to plan, we, like Esau, will sell our souls for a mess of pottage and, unfortunately, like Esau, when we finally realize our error we will be unable to redeem our lost possessions: our children, our schools, and our nation.

Why are Pro-School Choice Christians Spiritually Blind to Scriptural

Principles?  By transferring the burden of financing education to the State, parents relinquish their sovereignty over their children and place them under the authority of the State.

Parents and private schools must choose the narrow way and refuse federal funds and/or students who seek to pay their tuition with ‘free’ dollars granted to them by the State. Sure, private education is costly and the costs may even be unfair. It’s a sacrifice. That’s why it works! Parents who care about their children’s education are willing to make sacrifices and those who make the sacrifices end up caring even more. Don’t be fooled. Private schools only cost money. Public schools – or ‘public’ money in private schools – could end up costing you your children. The freedom to choose in the realm of education will prove to be the catalyst that will destroy genuine freedom throughout the land. The government plan for ‘freedom of choice’ in education will ultimately eliminate all alternatives with parents losing the right to educate their children. Unfortunately, average parents will look at the short term and seek to benefit in their particular lives. In accepting the funds, however, they will sell the souls of future generations for nothing. 

Most education researchers expected the battle line to be drawn by governmental power using the threat of force to coerce private schools into submission. To our surprise, the battle line is drawn in the heart. It has not come by coercion, but by seduction. Due to lust for acceptance and material gain, Christian and home schools are being enticed into an adulterous position. Little do they realize that once in the chambers of compromise, they will find that “...though her lips are as honeycomb and her mouth smoother than oil, that her feet go down to death and her steps take hold on hell.” ~Proverbs 5:3-5. 

TAKE HEED: Wisdom calls from without to “remove thy way from her and come not nigh the door of her house.”  ~Proverbs 5:8 

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