Does Huckabee or does Ron Paul really stand for freedom of education? The Cato Institute's discussion of Huckabee as a big government conservative, featured on Fox News and reprinted here, gives us a good idea of which one of these two candidates really supports the rights of parents to make their own school choices. As the article points out, Huckabee is oriented to spending on public education:
"Because he believes that "art and music are as important as math and science" in public schools, he wants these programs funded -- and thus, directed and administered -- federally. Huckabee is, incidentally, the only Republican candidate for president who opposes school choice. Huckabee has called for increased federal spending on a variety of programs from infrastructure to health care."
In contrast to Huckabee is Ron Paul, who is a signatory for the Alliance for the Separation of School and State's Public Proclamation: "I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education." (You may sign it too, if you wish, by going to http://www.schoolandstate.org/signproclamation.htm)
What's wrong with government involvement in education is that "money for schools" comes from taxes, and increasingly we are seeing taxation without real representation. Legislation that affects schools is often whisked through state and federal governments before parents and communities have a chance to see what's happening.
The money that was given to schools under the No Child Left Behind Act was given under the presumption that local and state schools could no longer manage their own affairs. Increasing federal control means reducing local control, and reducing local control means less parental involvement and a weakening of the bonds of schools to neighborhood and community.
Consolidation and centralization of schools is carried out in the name of rescuing supposedly "failing" schools, or, as in the case of Huckabee's plans in the name of providing more "arts and music" for the students. In a similar case two days ago in Birmingham, Alabama, it was suddenly announced that 18 local elementary schools were to close in order to provide more "arts and music" in a consolidated setting for their students. Members of the Birmingham City Council, as well as concerned citizens not only asked for "more transparency" from the local and state boards of education, but were obviously angry at a decision that, as Ronald Jackson, head of Birmingham's Citizens for Better Schools, stated: "...benefits no one...but the banks." (Birmingham News, Wednesday December 12, 2007)
In order to protect our right to send our children to the school of our choice, as well as our right as a parent to influence and be involved in our child's education,
we must not be dazzled by government promises to put more money into schools. How much time does the government need to prove that increased centralization improves the learning process? Our government has had 150 years to prove its point, and studies have definitively shown that parental involvement, local control and coherent communities are the key to better education. Please join Ron Paul in signing the Alliance for the Separation of School and State's proclamation, and please join me in voting for Ron Paul, a candidate who will really protect freedom of education.