Parents’ Responsibility in Education
There’s a huge debate around the issue of choice in education. The conversation on school choice has a number of talking points ranging from letting public funds follow students to shutting down all public schools and completely privatizing education. And there are some who don’t fall into the “pro” column on choice at all. (I don’t understand them, but they’re out there.)
My libertarian approach to education is pretty straightforward: it’s my (and my wife’s) responsibility to see that our children are properly trained for their future, and at no point does the federal government (or the state government) have any impact whatsoever on our role as parents.
I had this conversation with then-Congressman Nathan Deal while he was on the campaign trail running to be Georgia’s next Governor. My wife and I are fortunate enough to be able to send our children to private school, and the conversation with Deal was about my taxes actually paying for my children’s education. He was making the argument that Georgia had to make sure private schools were reaching certain standards before education funds could follow students to private schools.
While I understand his concern, his stance on that issue takes parental responsibility completely out of the equation. My wife and I have chosen a specific school to help us teach our children. That school answers to us. If the product it provides is not found to be satisfactory, we will have the option of (and responsibility for) finding another school that will meet our standards.
I don’t want to be airing dirty laundry in a public forum, so I’m not going to get into much detail with the personal information on this issue, but this year my wife and I have had frustrations with the school our children attend. After considering our options, we have decided to partner with another school for their education next school year.
While we’re fortunate to have the ability to make that decision, I can’t help but wonder about those students who are stuck in a school simply because of their home address. When school administration problems detract from a child’s education or when a student struggles in key subjects from a specific teacher, what can a parent do?
Private school is a great choice if the parents have the financial resources to make that decision, but parents without that option have no real choice but to have their child remain in a school that is failing to educate him properly.
With our parental responsibility placed firmly in the hands of government, the argument for school choice is futile. If it’s my government’s responsibility to educate my children, then I should have no say in the means or method the state uses for education. It is, after all, the state’s problem.
But if the responsibility is mine – if the buck stops here and if my child’s future depends on me – then I should have the final authority on the education of my children.
This is the question that demands an answer: Is your child’s education your responsibility, or is it the responsibility of your government?