American Parents Should Declare Independence From Government-Run Schools

Shanxi Omoniyi | July 6, 2024

(The Lion) — On the 248th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, we should consider declaring independence from today’s public education system.

While dissatisfaction with government-funded schools has been growing for years, we haven’t yet found a document explaining the causes and objections in a manner worthy of the Founders’ original prose.

However, if Thomas Jefferson and other Founders were alive today, they might consider an additional declaration, such as this:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for families to dissolve the political bands that have connected them with their previous educational system, a decent respect to the opinions of humanity requires they should declare the causes impelling them to the separation. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: 

–That all children should receive an excellent education to equip them for life in adulthood,  

–That parents are entrusted with this responsibility just as they are endowed by their Creator with unalienable Rights referenced in our original Declaration

–That to secure this excellent education, schools are instituted among U.S. communities, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed – primarily parents, whose taxpayer money and volunteering hours fundamentally support these schools, 

–That whenever any Form of Taxpayer-Funded Education becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Forms of Education, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Educational Systems long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience has shown families are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Systems, and to provide new Guards for their future security. 

–Such has been the patient sufferance of U.S. families; and such is now the necessity that constrains them to alter their former Schools. 

The history of the so-called Public Educational System is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over our children. 

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. 

  • It has refused to take legal responsibility for our children’s education, yet it forces taxpayers to pay billions each year just to keep existing. (See this conclusion by professors Terri A. DeMitchell and Todd A. DeMitchell: “While educators can be held liable for infringing on students’ rights and for negligence that causes students physical harm, educators do not have a legal responsibility to educate students.”) 
  • It has repeatedly rushed record-breaking sums of “aid to schools” but does not significantly improve students’ academic performance. (See this recent example of $190 billion since the COVID-19 pandemic, which hasn’t helped students recover to pre-pandemic levels.) 
  • It has obstructed the true teaching of our children by pushing diplomas at the expense of actual learning, despite the objections of well-meaning educators. (See this quote by former schoolteacher Jeremy Noonan: “Public schools have betrayed public trust by compromising academic and ethical standards to increase graduation rates, all while concealing from parents how little students are actually learning. These compromises not only affect academic achievement, but they also inculcate immoral habits in the next generation of citizens.”) 
  • It has refused to focus on reading proficiency – a proven solution to breaking the cycle of poverty – leading some to call this the civil rights issue of the 21st century. (See this quote by Condoleezza Rice: “How can you say you’re for civil rights, how can you say you’re for the poor when you’re condemning those children to not be able to read?”) 
  • It has repeatedly mishandled sexual abuse cases by shuffling teachers with records of misconduct from one school district to another, while crimes against children only continue to increase. (See this recent study where almost 12% of recent high school graduates reported sexual misconduct from teachers or coaches, as well as this lawsuit from 11 victims of sexual harassment against a California school district.) 
  • It has tried to force educators to teach “radical ideologies” through mandatory staff trainings, which at least one schoolteacher described as “in direct contradiction to my Christian faith.” 

(See this quote by former schoolteacher John Stamper: “My job was to teach students how to throw, catch, kick, play sports, and stay fit – not affirm them if they wanted to change genders, act as if their skin color determines their life, apologize for being a man, or for being white.”) 

  • It has raised spending and staffing rates even as enrollment declines, with relatively little improvement in student learning. (See this recent report: “School districts have yet to adjust their staffing and budgeting to the reality of fewer students. … Although class sizes have been falling for decades, student performance has not been rising in commensurable measure.”) 

In every stage of these Oppressions, we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury: 

  • A Virginia school board aide accuses the board of violating her First Amendment rights by working to prevent her speaking publicly about her work. 
  • Parents voicing their concerns at public meetings face the smear of being labeled as “domestic terrorists.” 
  • School boards facing external criticism simply limit transparency and access, but continue implementing controversial policies “behind closed doors.” 

A Government-Funded System thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the educator of a free people. 

We, therefore, the Parents of Children in the United States of America, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do solemnly publish and declare: 

–That our children are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent from the movement to transfer educational authority from parents to school boards “as a means of ideological indoctrination” discrediting families; 

–That they are Absolved from all teaching of ideologies without parental knowledge or consent; 

–and that as Free and Independent Guardians of a Future Generation, parents have full Power to make School Policies, review School Spending, protect our children’s Privacy and Safety, and to do all other Acts and Things that Independent Guardians may of right do. 

And for the support of this second Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we again mutually pledge to one another our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. 

This article was made available to EdNews Virginia via The Lion, a publication of the Herzog Foundation.