The Madison County Journal
August 8, 2001
Gov't should leave education to parents
Every Georgia governor in recent memory has "reformed"
education. Every one of these "reformations" has dramatically
increased the cost of education while shifting more and more
power from local boards to the state government. The one thing
these reforms have not done is improve the quality of education
being received by our children.
Over the period of these reforms, Georgia has moved from 49th
(Thank God for Mississippi) to 46th of the 50 states in educational
achievement. Our dropout rate is an embarrassment. The number
of our adult citizens who cannot read and understand this newspaper
is a crime.
So why have these plans failed? Each of these reforms has moved
our education system farther and farther away from the most important
factor in a child's education, their parents.
Child development specialists tell us that the most important
period in a child's mental development is from birth to 6 years
old. For a child to succeed in school, they have to be prepared
to learn by their parents and families in this critical period.
Once a child is in school, the greatest influence in their education
continues to be the parents. Children who are encouraged and
guided by caring parents have the greatest chance of making good
grades and learning skills necessary to succeed as an adult.
Parents must be directly involved in their children's education
to enssure success.
That is not the way it works in many schools today. Government
has demanded more and more control over our children's education.
Parents are finding it easier and easier to simply put the kids
on the bus and let government educate them as they wish. Now
state and national bureaucrats, with the aid of power-grabbing
political parties and labor unions, are taking more and more
responsibility from local governments and moving it farther away
from parental control.
So called Pre-K programs take children away from parents at even
earlier ages, further removing parents from educational responsibility.
By removing parents from the educational process, government
is assuring that no amount of new money will improve educational
What is the solution? First, get the federal government completely
out of education. The U.S. Constitution does not authorize federal
involvement in education. Therefore, all federal education programs
are in violation of the Constitution.
Secondly, dramatically reduce the size of state educational bureaucracies,
returning control of our public schools to local school boards.
This will make school boards answerable to the parents and community,
not to all-powerful bureaucrats and labor unions.
Finally, give parents a choice of educational opportunities.
Make it just as easy for parents to use private or public schools,
or to home school. That will return responsibility for education
to the parents where it belongs.
Students whose parents take control of their education, even
when they have to overcome government interference, produce the
best-educated children. Government needs to get out of the way
and let them do their jobs.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His email address
The Madison County Journal
August 8, 2001
I spent last weekend like many of you did - getting a child ready
for school. Although school is starting only a week earlier than
usual, it sure seems a whole lot earlier to me.
Why is it anyway that it seems summer basically ends right after
the Fourth of July?
It must be because we're motivated by the commercial world -
never mind that it's the dog days of summer - the JC Penney fall
and winter catalog has arrived and those "back to school"
ads are staring us in the face everywhere we look.
After all, we must be programmed to spend every dollar we can
before the next onslaught - the Christmas season - which now
begins at the end of August.
Last Saturday morning, facing the fact that school days were
less than a week away, I got up and headed to town with my son
Zack, debit card and checkbook in hand, to buy school supplies,
jeans, shorts, T-shirts and other "essentials."
On the way, I listened to why it was absolutely necessary to
purchase another backpack, as the one I was assured would last
"forever" was just not going to make it after all.
We searched several stores for a new backpack and I listened
over and over as to how this one and that one just wasn't big
enough (read "expensive enough").
Finally we found it. Of course "it" was the most expensive
one, but you see it has these straps with the "gel"
stuff in them that cushions the shoulders and will, you know
it, "last forever." Oh, and it also has a special compartment
for a CD player. The fact that it was no bigger than the other
ones we had looked at was suddenly of no importance.
Athens was the most crowded I've seen it all summer and everywhere
I looked were moms with children of various sizes in tow - many
with the same dazed expression on their faces that I'm sure was
Several hundred dollars later we headed home, prepared, or nearly
so, for another year of school.
It just so happens that school supplies for Zack this year included
a car, since he will turn 16 next month.
His dad and I purchased a used, and what we hope will be a reliable
vehicle, and since then our son has been steadily investing a
substantial portion of his parttime earnings into "necessities"
for his wheels - like a CD player, speakers and a "Black
Widow" security system to protect said CD player and speakers.
(I really think he just likes the sound it makes.)
While preparing Zack for a return to high school, I've also been
mentally preparing myself for Miranda's return to college. We'll
be loading up (several vehicles) and heading out for the mountains
next week to get her settled into her college dorm before classes
She's worked two jobs this summer putting back money to tide
her over and her dad and I are really proud of her.
I've told myself I'm better prepared for her moving out again
this year, and I know she is up to it, but I'm just not sure
I've certainly grown to love having her back home again, even
though sometimes the only way I know she's home is by how messy
her room is!
Oh well, we'll soon have something else to think about. After
all, Christmas is just around the corner.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison