|State Senator Osmond of the famous family|
The good Senator from South Jordan is proposing that Utah do away with compulsory public education as parents are the ones who should know best but have abdicated their parental educational duties to the "state." Oh my heck! I mean, how do you possibly respond to that? I have no problem with parents in the primary role for the education of their children. Go ahead. Send your kids to private school! Home school! It's all legal now, but please do not do away with public schools as the foundation of an educated electorate of a free and civil society!
I am the product of public schools with the exception of my undergraduate degree at BYU. Law School was the University of Maryland. Yet I have been to hearings in the New Mexico State Capitol in support of friends who home-schooled their children. I even made a presentation at a home school conference on Founding Mothers, emphasizing the role of Abigail Adams as I weaved in my Constitutional heresies about "We the People" and the Fourteenth Amendment and all.
My six children are all the product of public school with most of them going to BYU as well. One opted for the State schooling of the University of Utah and we love him just the same along with his wonderful U-of-U wife. Personally, I wouldn't want my kids home-schooled. I think social integration into the larger society is important. So far none have turned out as criminals or even left the LDS Faith having been married in LDS Temples, serving missions, etc. (even if they are mostly Democrats!) Sometime I'll have to blog about my older kids being part of the minority in public school as some of the few non-Hispanics. And that's more than just the Mormon minority thing that I experienced.
Does it have to be explained that with free public education, compulsory as it may be, we all reap the benefits of a society that enables individuals to function in the political process of Constitutional self-government and with the ability to hold a basic job? Do we want an illiterate underclass of those without parents of intelligence or financial resources to be left to their own devices sinking into crime or serfdom?
While a supporter of parents' right to choose what form of education they want for their children, I do not support vouchers as I believe they are a detriment (even a subterfuge) to the system of funding free public education. I also support reasonable state regulation to ensure that private and home schools meet basic educational expectations of our civil society.
And it gets worse. The good Senator from the singing family recognizes that there's a little problem in the Utah State Constitution requiring a free public education. I don't suppose he will want to hear that it was a condition of Statehood imposed by Congress under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution:
"That provision shall be made for the establishment and maintenance of a system of public schools, which shall be open to all the children of said State and free from sectarian control."the public lands that belong to all the citizens of the United States. And maybe the Senator with the big, white-toothed smile has no problem with yet another "message bill" to test the limits of federal law. (Just a hint: try reading Art. VI of the U.S. Constitution before you do any more of those.)
Let's go back to Utah Statehood. It took a long time for some fairly obvious reasons. Brigham Young never got his "State of Deseret" as a part of the United States subject to a modified theocracy. That might have sorta worked before the Civil War when looser interpretations of the Union allowed for states of the slavocracy. But after the Civil War and the Fourteenth Amendment it just wasn't going to happen. And getting to the inevitable slippery slope, if Ivory & Osmond want to reinterpret public lands and free, public education, why not plural marriage? (Do some reading on Utah Statehood, please!) Part of Congress's intent in authorizing the formation of the State of Utah was to establish common or public schools for all. During the territorial period they had been Mormon schools funded by taxes. Yeah, that gets a little sticky as not all the citizenry, i.e., the "public" or "we the people" in Utah belonged to the same religious persuasion. (Try reading the First Amendment, too.)
I don't know how the Republican Party of Utah keeps coming up with this zaniness out of left field. Oops. I mean right field.