Education System Broken: Let’s Try ‘Ed-Exit’

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently signed an executive order forbidding Maryland public schools from beginning classes before Labor Day. Governor Hogan’s executive order benefits businesses in Maryland’s coastal areas that lose school-aged summer employees and business from Maryland families when schools start in August. However, as Governor Hogan’s critics have pointed out, some Maryland school districts, as well as Maryland schoolchildren, benefit from an earlier start to the school year.

Governor Hogan’s executive order is the latest example of how centralized government control of education leaves many students behind. A centrally planned education system can no more meet the unique needs of every child than a centrally planned economic system can meet the unique needs of every worker and consumer.

Centralizing education at the state or, worse, federal level inevitably leads to political conflicts over issues ranging from whether students should be allowed to pray on school grounds, to what should be the curriculum, to what food should be served in the cafeteria, to who should be allowed to use which bathroom.

The centralization and politicization of education is rooted in the idea that education is a right that must be provided by the government, instead of a good that individuals should obtain in the market. Separating school from state would empower parents to find an education system that meets the needs of their children instead of using the political process to force their idea of a good education on all children.

While many politicians praise local and parental control of education, the fact is both major parties embrace federal control of education. The two sides only differ on the details. Liberals who oppose the testing mandates of No Child Left Behind enthusiastically backed President Clinton’s national testing proposals. They also back the Obama administration’s expansion of federal interference in the classroom via Common Core.

Similarly, conservatives who (correctly) not just opposed Clinton’s initiatives but called for the abolition of the Department of Education enthusiastically supported No Child Left Behind. Even most conservatives who oppose Common Core, federal bathroom and cafeteria mandates, and other federal education policies, support reforming, instead of eliminating, the Department of Education.

Politicians will not voluntarily relinquish control over education to parents. Therefore, parents and other concerned citizens should take a page from the UK and work to “Ed-Exit” government-controlled education. Parents and other concerned citizens should pressure Congress to finally shut down the Department of Education and return the money to American families. They also must pressure state governments and local school boards to reject federal mandates, even if it means forgoing federal funding.

Parents should also explore education alternatives, such as private, charter, and religious schools, as well as homeschooling. Homeschooling is the ultimate form of Ed-Exit. Homeschooling parents have the freedom to shape every aspect of education — from the curriculum to the length of the school day to what their children have for lunch to who can and cannot use the bathroom — to fit their child’s unique needs.

Parents interested in providing their children with a quality education emphasizing the ideas of liberty should try out my homeschooling curriculum. The curriculum provides students with a well-rounded education that includes courses in personal finance and public speaking. The government and history sections of the curriculum emphasize Austrian economics, libertarian political theory, and the history of liberty. However, unlike government schools, my curriculum never puts ideological indoctrination ahead of education.

Parents interested in Ed-Exiting from government-run schools can learn more about my curriculum at ronpaulcurriculum.com.

Article reposted with permission from The Ron Paul Institute

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Dr. Ron Paul is an American physician, author, and former politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 14th congressional district, which includes Galveston, from 1997 to 2013 as well as the 22nd congressional district for special term between 1976 and 1977, when he lost reelection in 1978, and for 3 later terms, from 1979 to 1985. On three occasions, he sought the presidency of the United States: as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988 and as a candidate in the Republican primaries in 2008 and 2012. Paul is best known for his libertarian views and is a critic of American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, including the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, and the Federal Reserve. Paul has been married to Carol Wells since 1957. They have five children, 18 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Ron Paul produces a weekly column known as Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk and is the author of several books.

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