Department of Education Gives a Gift to Children

dept of ed sealMy bloomers twist into a bundle when I hear threats of shutting down the Department of Education. Wake County, North Carolina, where I live, recently faced a heated school board election where incumbent school board members and their candidate cronies were jockeying to dismantle our education department. There were candidates who served to benefit financially from the dismantling of the school system, and incumbents clearly had a conflict of interest based on their service to boards of private and charter schools. The Tea Party had taken over our local school board.

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The breakdown of our school system was symptomatic of Tea Party ideologies that focus on shrinking “big government.” But this issue isn’t just supported by Tea Party candidates. Current GOP candidate Newt Gingrich has been known to say, "You need to dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education, get rid of virtually all of its regulations." The ruse of big government is code to push a conservative agenda that will favor homeschooling with a focus on religious teachings, abolish science teachings, especially related to evolution, and extend tax credits for homeschooling, private schools, and charter schools. Tax credits for private school tuition is yet another break to the rich while dismissing the middle class and impoverished among us. The people supporting these education cuts and changes are emboldened by the religious right who claim that government stands in the way of their beliefs. The irony is that our government actually grants them religious freedom.

More from The Stir: Abolishing the Department of Education Is the Best Thing for Our Kids

Besides, religion and education should not be co-mingling.

The proponents of shutting down the Department of Education want to turn back time, and in my case, that meant bringing back the days segregation. Education opportunities would, in effect, be available only to the privileged (which is veiled as only available to white kids with righteous double talk). Imagine if our country were riddled again with higher rates of illiteracy. Crime would be on the rise, and poverty would smother our cities and rural areas. The achievement gap would grow into a gorge. Education is a ticket to freedom, security, success, and happiness. I believe education is a fundamental right for all children, and the ability for our government (federal, state, and local) to provide it is a gift.

Even if I were to vote selfishly and only care about my own sons, having an uneducated populace would mean my sons would live in a society divided. American business leaders and employers would have no solid base of educated people to draw from to fill jobs, and innovation would halt to a crawl. Talent would be one-dimensional. We would leave an entire class of citizens disenfranchised. Besides, I want my sons to have a secular education that develops their sense of curiosity and wonder, not indoctrinate them into adopting a narrow lens on the world. Society is simply stronger when more people have nourished minds.

Without a Department of Education, where is the accountability?

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. Read the original question and find links to all their responses here: Should the Department of Education Be Abolished?

 

Image via Wikimedia

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