advocate offers compelling reasons to reject
by Cris Shardelman
Poulsbo, WA - 8/23/02 - By way
of introduction, I am Cris Shardelman, a
strong advocate for parental rights over the
education of their children. Since the
mid-60's, I have worked for initiatives, and
written legislation for that purpose.
Until I studied government education vouchers,
I thought they might prove beneficial. I
hope my critique will show the dangers
vouchers pose for Christian Schools.
Education's big battle this coming year across
the states will be over use of vouchers in
religious schools. Coercion will come in the
form of both legislation and court challenges.
July 10th Richard Komer, of the Institute for
Justice, told the Washington Times that
lawsuits to mandate vouchers are targeted for
Maine, Vermont and Washington State.
Compelling reasons to reject government
First, the government definition of Choice:
"The definition of "public
schools" should be broadened to include
any school that serves the public and is held
accountable by a public authority regardless
of who runs them." (America 2000 An
Education Strategy Sourcebook, pgs. 22 and 41)
A second government definition (from Ginny
Baker's Educational Choice: An
Innovative Report: ) "..on July 1971, key
federal legislation underlying and controlling
any subsequent education legislation was
adopted. This master control system,
"The Interagency Day Care
Standards", hinged upon the federal
government's own definition of day care.
"Day care is defined as the care of a
child on a regular basis by someone other than
the child's parents for any part of the
24-hour day". It states that
"Any agency, public or private, which
receives federal funds directly or indirectly
through a grant or contract, or by the way of
a voucher plan" must meet all
requirements that are set down for public
schools. Acceptance of Federal funds is
an agreement to abide by the
Federal funds are involved, even though the
federal government is prohibited by the 10th
Amendment from involvement in education.
It is very dangerous to place any education on
the federal level, because ONLY the federal
government is allowed to make agreements with
other nations. Agreements can establish
international curriculums, teacher training,
etc. This opens the door to
control of education from a global/UN level,
and demolishes any remnants of parental
Federal control of education violates
constitutional representative government,
because citizens cannot give consent, through
elections, to be governed by the appointed
Secretary of Education. Protective state
laws will be void, because we are acting
outside the Constitutions and laws.
School vouchers do not provide the freedom the
G.I. Bill afforded. Students and parents
have not earned the funding like the veteran
did. Grove City and Hillsdale Colleges
rejected federal student loans (repayable by
the recipient) because the loans came with
over 7,000 regulations. (The Sun 10-25-96)
It is highly doubtful the government will
supply a list of thousands of regulations the
voucher-accepting schools will have to comply
with prior to receipt of funds.
The Cleveland vouchers, upon which the Supreme
Court Decision was based, was to benefit only
low-income students, not be given to everyone.
Even the religious voucher-accepting schools
had to agree to abide by the
non-discrimination laws in student admission
and educator hiring, in essence becoming
"public schools, accountable to a public
authority". The Court's Decision was for
low income students rights to "better
education as defined by government".
For receipt of funding, the religious school
could not reject a student on the basis of
opposing religious viewpoints or physical or
academic handicaps. One atheist plus ACLU
equals a lawsuit. Violations could
result in the school being forced to repay the
funding. Bringing the school up to
building codes to accommodate the numerous
needs of special education students would be
very difficult for most Christian Schools.
Salaries for specialists for special education
students needs would stretch most budgets.
To insure voucher schools are accountable for
tax dollars, they must prove "better
education" is taking place. That
proof will no doubt be in the form of those
federal No Child Left Behind assessments and
state assessments that parents do not see..
Since assessments drive the curriculum,
religious schools will have to abandon their
Christian missions and teach to the
assessment, leading to a federal curriculum.
Remember all education reform is structured
around School-to-Work. Will the
student's future be directed by God or
government and business?
Many parents already sacrifice for a Christian
education for their children. If that
school accepts vouchers for low-income
students that exceed the amount other parents
are currently paying, the school may well
raise the tuition for all students, forcing
Christian students to drop out. Once a
school's budget is set to include government
funds, it would be very difficult to return to
its original mission of teaching the gospel.
With the advent of vouchers, Christian School
parents will not only be forced to pay for the
Religion of Humanism in the government
schools, but for other opposing
religious schools, such as Muslim, Buddhist,
or other New Age Schools.
The best way to destroy Christian Schools is
to make them accountable to the government
through vouchers. Then what
"choice" will Christian parents
have? Homeschools will be next. To
say vouchers provide "marketplace
competition" is ridiculous when tax
dollars are confiscated from citizens, then
given to government to control. Vouchers
will absorb and transform Christian Schools
into the government monopoly. Schools that
want to retain their mission to educate
children according to the Bible by refusing
vouchers will find themselves losing students
to "religious" government schools.
Poulsbo, WA. 98370