Here is a guest post written by my husband… enjoy!
Power, authority, and responsibility go hand-in-hand. Authority implies responsibility and the power to fulfill such responsibility. Responsibility presupposes possession of authority and power. Without authority and its accompanying responsibility, power is tyrannical. Finally, one can have no responsibility for something over which one has neither power nor authority. The point is, these concepts are inextricably linked. Let’s apply this to the problem in public education or what I’ll call “the village school system”.
Supporters of the failing village school system insist that more money will solve all of its problems. When one points out that private schools perform better with far fewer funds, village-school apologists will quickly point out that such success is largely due to parental involvement. Here’s precisely where collectivist ideology has a negative effect.
We’re all familiar with the modern mantra on the political Left, which insists that “it takes a village” to raise children. This issue has again made headlines when one media figure suggested that children do not belong to their parents, but to the collective village (which politically means that children belong to the state). This usurpation of parental rights is nothing new. The political Left have been attempting to strip parents of their authority, while it uses the power of the state to impose its policies under the pretext of defending the “rights” of children.
When the state usurps the authority of parents, there is little role left for parents to play other than as “pal”, in which they can give friendly advice, but where the “village” discourages parents from actually indoctrinating the child with anything resembling absolute Truth, moral or otherwise. Parents are told by the “village” that they have no real authority (or accompanying power) over the lives of their children. After a generation of this, many of today’s parents have connected the logical dots. They are happy to surrender their authority and exchange it for freedom from responsibility. The village continues to insist that children belong to it, so let the “village” (i.e., the state and its institutions) take responsibility for the education and discipline of children, which is the logical conclusion to village collectivism. This abdication of authority and responsibility has led to a situation where many parents are indifferent to their child’s education. When parents are not so apathetic, they make demands of public school teachers which are not a teacher’s responsibility (unfortunately, good teachers are caught between the demands of unions, policymakers, and parents, while being collectively lumped in with bad teachers).
The grand irony is that many supporters of public education who complain about parental apathy are the same persons who promote the very collectivist policies which strip parents of their authority. Such village ideologues want to have their cake and eat it, too. They undermine parental authority and then act surprised when parents abandon responsibilities concomitant with that authority. What’s worse is that they become apoplectic when some parents refuse to abdicate their authority to the state, instead, removing their children from the village school system and choosing to homeschool. Such persons cannot connect the dots and are surprised that their system is a dismal failure, which then leads them to throw more money at a problem which was not the result of a lack of funding. And, again, when told that private schools succeed with less funding, it never occurs to collectivists that private schools, which are largely religious, conservative institutions, do not endorse ideologies which attempt to strip parents of their authority, leaving parents with the responsibility of caring for their child’s education.
Unfortunately, we can expect village collectivists to continue with their failed ideology. They will continue to insist that the state has the best interest of children in mind, and that collectivist bureaucrats actually love your children and know what’s best for them more than you do. So far, it’s possible to rescue a child who suffers under a truly abusive parent. But who will rescue children from an abusive village if a collectivist state exercises totalitarian power over them?