Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Psalm 22:6)
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:6,7)
We are dedicated homeschoolers. As such, we oppose any legislation or court action that threatens the sovereignty of God and His institution, the Family, over the scope, content, and compass of the educaton of our children.
Letters Concerning New Hampshire's Landmark "Claremont" Decision
Here in New Hampshire, we have been battling with forces working to collectivise the public school system even more than it already is. Money for these government schools is collected by threat of force, whether you use them or not, whether you agree with the concept or not, whether or not you ascribe to the philosophies taught therein.
I sent copies of the following letters to newspapers statewide and to my state legislative delegation.
On the Reluctance to
Participate in Statewide Property Tax
Some of the towns whose tax burdens have been increased by the Statewide Property Tax have demonstrated antipathy to the new redistributionist tax scheme enacted by our state legislature. However, all these towns agree in principle with the prevailing government school paradigm. It is inconsistent to agree with the collectivist government school model while rejecting its inevitable redistributionist tax consequences. Now the courts have ruled the legislature must define what constitutes an adequate education and how to implement fair funding for it. Certainly, this is an invitation to endless litigation, which is what we are beginning to see. Let's consider what the founders of our Constitutional Republic intended.
Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
~~ Part 1, Article 10, Constitution of the State of New Hampshire
Threatening to use the police powers of the
State to dispossess a person of his home, the most personal
possession one can have next to his very life, for the arbitrary
benefit of a government school system, or any other bureaucratic
experiment, is clearly a perversion of the ends of government and
the manifest endangerment of public liberty. The ends of
government are to secure and guarantee the common, inalienable,
God-given rights of the people, not to bully them into
participating in social experiments. Government cannot grant
rights. Only tyrants believe that rights can be granted or
rescinded either by edict or by majority. In vigilant defense of
this principle, our revolutionary era legislature refused to
ratify the federal constitution without a Bill of Rights.
The 150-year-old Public School experiment is a failure. No amount of money will be enough to make it workable. Experience with the Public School system has shown that no matter how much money it gets, it is never enough. It is not rational to repeat continually the same process while expecting different results. The government school experiment has gone beyond the point of diminishing returns, not just financially, but academically and ethically as well.
"To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."
~~ Thomas Jefferson
The State school system has achieved the status
of established State church. It professes as truths ideologies
based on opinion and even blind faith. It teaches as fact one and
only one dogma of origins, when the purveyors of such were not
there to observe the processes and have only their
presuppositions based on their world-view through which to
interpret the data. It teaches that we are accidents of the
universe and that when we die we are just so much compost,
leading to the conclusion that life has no transcendent or
intrinsic meaning. It teaches as facts moral principles based at
least in part on the works of people such as eugenicist Margaret
Sanger, pedophile Alfred Kinsey, and totalitarian Karl Marx. The
texts used to catechize the children deliberately exclude data
that would compromise their interpretation thereof. The methods
employed were devised by committed social engineers such as John
Dewey and Carl Rogers. "Affective Education" methods
have deteriorated academic outcomes and have demonstrated
adverse, even tragic, social consequences.
Most, if not all, of these things run contrary to the prevailing thought among seriously religious parents whose religious faith is other than paganism. Yet these parents are compelled by threat of force to pay to have their children alienated from the faith of their fathers. Even those who do not have any children attending the State schools are compelled by threat of force to support them.
Education is the duty and responsibility of the
parents. Home-based and church-based education are demonstrably
he best options and served this nation much better than any
government school system implemented since the advent of the
Prussian public school model or any of its "Progressive"
If a group of parents wishes to establish or participate in a community-based public school, that is their right. It is not their right, however, to use the threat of force to compel anyone else to participate in it or pay for it, especially if there are philosophical or religious dogmas being purveyed.
In today's government schools, it is acceptable to use the holy names of God and His Son in profanity. Yet it is unacceptable to use the same names in prayer. Such a system can never succeed, and those that come out of it mentally, spiritually, and physically intact do so, not because of it, but in spite of it, by the grace of God.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: For whatsoever a man soweth, that
shall he also reap.
~~ Galatians 6:7
February 23, 1999
Is a truly Public Education even possible in a nation comprised of widely divergent world views yet bound by its constitution not to "establish" any one religion over another?
Thomas Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
Teachings on origins and morals are inherently religious and should not fall within the scope of the existing tax-funded, state-authorized school collectives. In recent years, deep divisions have emerged among the populace along these fronts, and forcing people to pay for the propagation of one perspective over another only serves to exacerbate those divisions.
As long as the government schools persist in favoring one set of theories and philosophies over another, even presenting them as facts, they venture into the religious realm. One may teach about these things, but impartiality and respect for differing perspectives must be part of the equation. This is definitely not the case in any tax-funded school system in New Hampshire, nor can it be, nor should it be.
A values-neutral education is not only impossible, it's not even desirable. To educate a child without any moral compass or sense of justice is not only negligent, but dangerous.
If public funding is to be provided at all, it should be given directly to the parents that they may choose for their own children the education that most closely reflects their own world view. In a society as diverse as ours, a truly Public Education with its attendent government-mandated funding of governemnt-mandated positions on origins and morals can only be tyrannical.
January 6, 1999
Concerning interpretation of the NH Constitution and the NH Supreme Court's "Claremont" decision, let us consider Thomas Jefferson's rule for interpreting the Constitution of the United States, which ought to be applied to state constitutions as well.
"On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
In applying Jefferson's rule for construction and intent, it is difficult to understand how the NH Supreme Court could rule that in Article 83 of the NH state constitution its framers had intended state-authorized school collectives (SAUs) funded according to Marxist-redistributionist principles by state moneys acquired by state-imposed taxes.
Incidentally, public schools are not the only objects after the verb "cherish" in Article 83. Public schools are listed last after literature, the sciences, and "all seminaries," though the NH Constitution was amended in 1877 to exclude denominational institutions from receiving any State funds. Can we expect the Court to rule that the State must provide fair and adequate funding of literature, the sciences, and non-denominational seminaries?
Since the Court apparently ignored Jefferson's rule for constitutional interpretation, we must clarify to the Court, by way of a constitutional amendment, that the State's constitutional authors did not intend a collectivist education bureaucracy funded by taxes imposed by the State when they said the State had a duty to "cherish the interest of" Public Schools, among other things. Besides, the Court's decision is an invitation to endless litigation over what constitutes an adequate education as well as what constitutes fair funding.
By observing what's happened in other states, one might surmise that the more the courts and governors and legislatures and unions get involved with the compass, content, and cost of public education, the more it seems to deteriorate.
I had written to the president to voice my opposition to this heavy-handed power play by the NEA and its minions. His response was a form letter patronizing me for my interest in civic affairs and assuring me that this tyrannical legislation bore no malice for me. Below is my answer to his response.
Feb 21, 1994
Dear Mr. President,
Thank you for the letter I received last week acknowledging my opposition to S1170. In your letter, you stated that the government seeks to enhance local control of education through the enactment of S1170. However, the House version of this bill, HR6, is openly hostile to those of us who have chosen to educate our children at home or in Christian or private schools. The most local form of control of education is parental control. This bill is a radical step away from that.
From my understanding of HR6, my wife would be required to obtain a Masters of Education in order to teach our children at home. Even worse, it seems that she would be required to have an M.Ed. for each subject she intends to teach.
We have construed this as a power grab by the National Education Association and their agents. Because my wife and I are bible-believing Christians, we are not philosophically compatible with many of the methods employed or outcomes sought by the NEA or public education in general.
The Bible assigns to the parents the responsibility for educating the children and to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord", meaning we must teach them the moral law of God and the salvation by grace through faith in His son Jesus Christ. This is impossible in a humanist millieu like the public education system. Our religious conscience does not allow us to place our children under the aegis of humanist indoctrination.
To those who have no conscientious objection to such indoctrination of their children, we offer no opposition. However, as responsible parents and accountable citizens, with all liberties attendent thereto and guaranteed by our constitution, we seek only to provide the education we deem best for our children.
Because it is hostile to home-schooling and Christian-schooling, we vigorously oppose HR6 and hereby petition you to veto it if it is passed by both houses.
When I saw the Sentinel's endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen, I wasn't at all surprised. The Sentinel's editorial statements and Mrs. Shaheen's political platform, speeches, and voting record in the state senate exhibit sympathies with socialist-collectivist and pro-abortion ideologies. When she was elected, Governor Shaheen selected Judy Reardon, former president of the NH chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), as her chief of staff.
Those of you who have been following events here in New Hampshire know that the NH Supreme Court has somehow found in our state constitution a Marxist-redistributionist right to a lowest-common-denominator education provided and funded by the people of the State of NH. Not surprisingly, the NH Supreme Court has determined that it has the power to order the legistlature to come up with a definition and funding for "adequate" education. Apparently, New Hampshire's Supreme Court justices need improvement in their reading comprehension so that they may understand the state's constitution better.
This letter was published in the Keene Sentinel the day after Shaheen's victory at the polls.
October 31, 1996
To the Sentinel;
The Keene Sentinel's endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen, and their reason for it, came as no surprise. Many seem to believe that government involvement with education, and the legislative and judicial actions attending such, are necessary to promote better education. However, studies reveal that it is parental involvement that has the most beneficial effect on education, not money spent, not government micro-management, nor alliances between the teachers' unions and government agencies and politicians. In fact, the more teachers unions, government agencies, politicians, and courts have gotten involved in the content and compass of education, the more its quality has decayed and the more its cost has escalated. It's been said that the definition of insanity is to continue to repeat the same thing again and again while expecting different results.
The Keene Sentinel chided Ovide Lamontagne for his lack of faith in government. However, this nation's founders exhibited a healthy suspicion of government. They drafted the Constitution of the united States to limit government. The Constitution delegates limited powers to the federal government, and guarantees (not grants) sovereign citizens certain inalienable rights endowed by their Creator. From the founders' perspective, a proper government's primary role is the vigorous protection (not erosion) of these rights.
George Washington said, "Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is a force, like fire a dangerous servant and a fearful master."