A New Birth of Education Freedom|
April 1, 2013
As the nation has focused on the Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality
of same-sex marriage, news from the state of Indiana could prove far more
important regarding the nation’s future.
The Indiana Supreme Court has just ruled unanimously, 5-0, that Indiana’s school
voucher program, signed into law in 2011, the most expansive school voucher
program in the nation, does not violate the state’s constitution.
Those who challenged the law argued that the voucher program is unconstitutional
because it allows public funds to be used for religious education.
Not so, said the court. The voucher goes to the families, not the schools. It is
the parents who decide how to spend it.
Why do I draw connection between the US Supreme Court’s review of same-sex
marriage and this voucher decision in Indiana? And why do I suggest that the
Indiana decision may be more important to the nation’s future than whatever the
Supreme Court decides on same sex marriage?
Same-sex marriage sits before the Supreme Court today because of the dramatic
change in public opinion over recent years regarding the legitimacy and morality
of same-sex marriage and homosexual relations. General public opinion is far
more accepting today of both than it has been in the past.
What has driven this change?
One obvious place to look is the direct generational correlation regarding
acceptance of same-sex marriage. Younger Americans are far more accepting of
these values than older Americans.
According to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center, approval of same
sex marriage among those born between 1928-1945 is 31 percent; 1946-1964, 38
percent; 1965-1980, 49 percent; and after 1980, 70 percent.
So it seems quite reasonable to conclude that the systematic purge over the last
half-century of religion and traditional values from our public schools has
produced a new generation of Americans with values different from those of their
parents and grandparents.
In 1962 the Supreme Court found state-sponsored school prayer unconstitutional.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court found unconstitutional posting of the Ten
Commandments in public schools (1980), public schools setting aside time for
private or voluntary prayer (1985), and “performance of religious activity” at
school promotional and graduation ceremonies (1992).
The rationale behind all these decisions was supposedly to preserve and protect
religious liberty in our public schools.
But this has not at all what has been happening. The result has not been value
free public schools that just teach reading, writing and arithmetic. The result
has been to purge traditional religious values from our public schools and
replace them with different values – secular humanism.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “all states are
somehow involved in sex education for public school children.”
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teacher’s union,
thought it relevant to their mission to issue a press statement about the
same-sex marriage cases currently before the Supreme Court. According to their
“Proposition 8 and DOMA (both of which support traditional marriage) aren’t just
unconstitutional, they contradict American values of fairness, inclusion, and
freedom for all.”
So somehow it is fair and constitutional, in the view of the NEA, that our
schools not be permitted to teach right and wrong, as Christians have understood
them from the Bible for a few thousand years, while it is fair and free to teach
secular humanism in their place.
Thanks to former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who signed into law the Indiana
voucher program, and a sane and sober court in Indiana, Indiana helps pave the
way for a new birth of education freedom in America in which parents can choose
where to send their child to school.
No longer will kids be captive to left-wing brainwashing in Indiana public
schools. Hopefully soon this will be the case nationwide.
Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal
and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based
public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle
Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do