Independence Day: Why the Republic Requires Rebellion

This Independence Day brings with it a new sense of urgency in the fight to save public education. Because Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is continuing to advance her personal agenda —unchecked by Congress—it is our duty to step in. We the People are the last hope for a nation built upon the ideal that supreme power resides in its citizens.

DeVos Puts Religion Ahead of Duty to Civil Rights

Ms. DeVos is hell-bent on “advancing [her] God’s Kingdom” using our education system as a weapon of destruction. But without a national understanding of why her actions must be seen as tyrannical, our republic is at risk. Hence the urgency of this Independence Day — the need to clearly see what good has come from our rebellious past and the need to rise again.

The foundation for our great country was set by the Declaration of Independence. Its writers were experiencing the corruption and greed of an oppressive government and anticipated this country would see this destructive behavior again, for they went on to say, in reference to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, … (The Crucial Voice of the People)

“… that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, 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.” (Declaration of Independence)

Since Betsy (Prince) DeVos’ rhetoric and actions fit the definition of “destructive behavior” towards public schools, she invites our rebellion against her rule.

She and her followers are thumbing their noses at the foundational principles of the Declaration and have moved on to redefining what the First Amendment to the Constitution says.

SOURCE The Privatizer: Betsy DeVos And Her Scheme To Undermine Public Education Have Survived The Tumult Of The Trump Administration

Separation of Church and State

Let’s not forget that many of the early immigrants came to rest on American soil because they were seeking religious freedom. Freedom to practice a religion of ones’ choosing is why there is no government-sponsored religion in America. Consequently, our Founding Fathers held variously religious beliefs.

Although orthodox Christians participated at every stage of the new republic, Deism influenced a majority of the Founders. The movement opposed barriers to moral improvement and to social justice. It stood for rational inquiry, for skepticism about dogma and mystery, and for religious toleration. Many of its adherents advocated universal education, freedom of the press, and separation of church and state. If the nation owes much to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is also indebted to Deism, a movement of reason and equality that influenced the Founding Fathers to embrace liberal political ideals remarkable for their time. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Our birth as a rebellious nation has always been tied to religious freedom. But although we hear the phrase “separation of church and state” used as if it is part of the Constitution, it is not. With DeVos blurring the lines between “religious freedom” and “education freedom,” it is not surprising that many standing to benefit personally from her antics don’t see her actions as an over-step of religion into a basic function of the State.

What the First Amendment says is …

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

That’s it! That’s all our founding fathers wrote into our foundational law about religion.

Religious schools are private. No one is prohibiting them from practicing their religion or teaching their young about their chosen doctrines. They have religious freedom. What they do not have is taxpayer dollars to advance their philosophy. That is what is changing quickly under DeVos rules.

I hope religious schools consider this

For churches to accept taxpayer dollar is for them to then invite the State into the functioning of their schools. Anything less would be “taxation without representation.” Religious organizations can’t have it both ways. So are they ready to open their doors, their books, and their gatherings to the greater public, as our real public schools do?

But Let’s Go Back Again to Independence Day

As our country moved forward from our first Independence Day in 1776, we laid our educational foundation on the ideals of American quality and exceptional-ism. But it would take our republic almost two centuries before the country came to develop an education system that embodied the words …

“WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal…”

With time, many of the Founding Fathers came to terms with the hypocrisy of their words and did what they could to free and educate the humans they had allowed to stay in bondage. But it wouldn’t be until after Brown v. Board of Education that a way to achieve equality of educational opportunity was proposed through federal policy.

Foundational Principles for Providing National Equal Educational Opportunity

Our rebellious founding fathers asked that we see rebellion as the Right of the People to alter our Government based on such Principles as shall seem most likely to effect our Safety and Happiness. That same request —to build upon sound principles—is what federal education law once did.

  • Strengthening and improving all schools was to be done through research, dissemination of information, and training aimed at quality teaching, counseling, and state leadership.
  • The determinate of quality was to be based on “appropriate measures” as determined by state and local officials with overview of the federal government to assure that equal access was being provided.
  • Inequality of opportunity was addressed through funding for the educational needs of children of low-income families to meet those children’s needs as determined locally.
  • Equality in access was extended to entire communities where high concentrations of low-income families resided through the funding of educational centers and services deemed vital to educational success.

Now, the legislative branch is corrupted by money. Our federal education laws better serve moneyed interests than the People’s interests.

Now, with Betsy DeVos at the helm of our U.S. Department of Education, we now face a new and very real threat — the Union of Church and State.

Our Republic: Born from Rebellion, Requiring It Again

Major religious conflicts have not divided and destroyed our republic like they have in other countries. Government sponsorship of schools that divide us will not contribute to progress as a nation founded upon the promise of equality. That makes rebellion against all of DeVos’ efforts to push her agenda both proper and necessary.

Rebellion against the destruction of public education requires we see Betsy (Prince) DeVos for what she is — a tyrant. She and her ilk are exactly the kind of people American patriots rebelled against. Never forget —in a republic the supreme power resides in its citizens. Such a republic requires rebellion from time to time to keep it alive.

Let Freedom Ring! Happy Independence Day!

Unequal Access

Unequal access to quality education is what used to define the Great American Education “Reform” War. It was a civil rights issue. So now, let’s redefine the sides in those terms — give all of America’s children equal opportunity, or not.

The Brown v. Board of Education decision that went into law on May 17, 1954, stated, “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” That is a truth. At the time the issue was clearly a racial one – the law ended legal segregation of public schools based on color.

The truth stated in law, then, still stands today — “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” And that tendency will always exist. But as James S. Coleman pointed out, inequality exists within schools also. So we must recognize the barriers to equality in our schools and classrooms and fully address those problems directly as well as the inequality between communities.

So what can I say to convince you that federal education law exists because it was the next necessary step in the march towards equal opportunity for children?

Over a decade after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was written because it was recognized that where poverty exists families and communities are less able to offer the quality of education that richer communities can do for their children. Separate facilities are inherently unequal. Without assistance and support, disadvantaged schools are less likely to offer quality learning opportunities.

The chief architect of ESEA, Francis Keppel, felt that equality in education would only become reality when we provide quality education in all our schools. Simple, not easy. Federal law could help but the final solutions can only happen in schools themselves. For the children’s sake, it is in our schools where the barriers to equality must be recognized.

Keppel went on to write The Necessary Revolution in American Education. He meant a “quality revolution.”

If education is the civil rights issue of our time — like many continue to say — and we know that quality matters, what barriers must we overcome to finish this fight? Children across America deserve better. There is nothing acceptable about inaction when we know there are better policies and practices that we can follow.

For the nation’s sake, we must change the test-based accountability education law — No Child Left Behind (NCLB)— because it is now a barrier; it is nothing like the anti-poverty, quality-based, federal investment in equality that the 1965 ESEA law was.

Take a step back 60 years, then a step forward to 1965. Ask every one of your federal and state representatives and candidates to do the same. Consider the Three R’s. Roll back, Review,and Reaffirm a commitment to quality and equality. Ask your representatives to do the same.

What will it take?

What will it take?

Every decade, every year, that policy makers drag their feet on NCLB is a sign that they don’t care that children are being denied access to quality education.

The proof is their inaction.

The March Begins

Think back to the early 1960’s or if you are too young to recall, go read about the history of that era and try to imagine what it was like. The United States had intentionally racially segregated schools. And much like today, we had a gaping socioeconomic divide that left poor children and rich children with very different schools.

Go back a bit further in our history to 1896 and the Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson that was based on the doctrine of “separate but equal.” That legal segregation of public schools by the states stood for 58 years until the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 which stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The door for the Civil Rights Movement and the resultant Civil Rights Act of 1964 was opened.

As a republic, we saw the value in improving the quality of education and believed all children in America deserved access to opportunities, equally. We believed education was a “hand up,” out of poverty, and that we were capable of delivery on the ideal of equal opportunity, at least to children. And we saw a way to do it through materials and services that support teaching and learning, better university training of teachers and counselors, and better distribution of “best practices” to the communities where they were most needed. We once focused federal education law on providing the needed “inputs” for educating the disadvantaged.

And it seems we need reminding that the March on Washington in 1963 was organized to urge Congress to pass John F. Kennedy’s civil rights bill calling for equal opportunity in employment and education.

The March down the road to equal educational opportunity began.

Marching Towards a Dream

Marching Towards a Dream

This is the first in a series of ten blogs on The Road to Educational Quality and Equality. Read on, march on!