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March 27, 2013
A Parent's Right to Choose EducationWhether they are concerned about a national student database, failing public schools, bullying and violence, or moral instruction, more and more parents are looking for choices in education. Many pull their children out of school and teach them at home, but not all parents find this solution practical. Others are looking to put their children into private schools that will protect their privacy and their values, whether secular or religious. But some find themselves unable to afford this option, either.
Last week Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee introduced an amendment to a budget bill that would allow federal Title I dollars to go to whichever school a student below the poverty line actually attends. Under current rules, that money can only go to the public school in whose district the student lives; it cannot go to a private school. In most cases, changing this rule would allow $1,300 per student per year to go to whatever accredited school the student attends, even if it is a private school. This would allow schools to reduce tuition or credit the money against the tuition of the low-income student.
Some are opposed to any bill that would send tax dollars to a private institution. Others hold that the tax dollars earmarked for education should be used for that purpose, regardless of what school parents choose; private school (and home school) parents pay the same taxes as everyone else.
“School choice for low-income parents and students across America is a way out of the poverty cycle,” sponsoring Senator Rand Paul stated in a Senate.gov release last week. “Allowing Title I funds to follow the student creates an opportunity for students to get the most out of their education in the best environment available.”
While ParentalRights.org does not have an official position on this amendment (which failed on a 39-60 vote), we do support the right of fit parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their child. We believe every fit parent has the right to shape their child’s education, and we do not believe poverty should take away this right.
The right to direct the upbringing of one’s child is one of the fundamental liberties traditionally upheld by the Supreme Court, but it is now being eroded in federal courts. This is a result of the fractured and ambiguous ruling in Troxel v. Granville, the 2000 case in which the Supreme Court called parental rights “fundamental” while refusing to accord them proper legal protection.
This ambiguity is a primary reason for our proposed Parental Rights Amendment, which begins:
The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.
Action Items1. Pass this email along to your friends and family who might support a parent’s right to direct the education of their child. The Parental Rights Amendment would not ensure tax dollars for private schools – it has nothing to do with funding. But it will preserve the role of parents in deciding the kind of education their children receive.
Ask your friends and family to sign the petition at ParentalRights.org/petition. (If you received this email directly from us, you have already signed this petition.)
2. Volunteer to take an active role. Whatever your passion or skill set, we would appreciate your help in promoting the Parental Rights Amendment. Simply fill out our online volunteer form.
3. If you have not done so lately, please donate to continue our efforts to preserve parental rights. We regret that because we are a lobbying organization, donations cannot be deductible for income tax purposes, but we depend on the support of donors like you to keep us moving forward.
Whether you enroll your children in public school, private school, or home school, we appreciate your support of parental rights. By standing together regardless of our educational choices, we can preserve every family’s right to choose for themselves.
Director of Communications & Research
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