Honorable President-elect Barack Obama:
In nominating Arne Duncan to serve as Secretary of Education, you stressed the need for school reform. In accepting the nomination, Duncan said, “Whether it’s fighting poverty, strengthening our economy, or promoting opportunity, education is the common thread. It is the civil rights issue of our generation, and it is the one sure path to a more equal, fair and just society.”
Denial of parental choice in education is in fact the greatest government-sanctioned violation of civil rights in today’s America, and society suffers in multiple ways. As with any system gone awry, just follow the money. The only way to fix this misguided system is to return control to parents, where it rightfully belongs. Our top-down system, where the provider holds the purse rather than the customer, is like shopping with no money, with the understanding that the store will provide for your needs.
As summarized by Wisconsin State Representative Annette Polly Williams, who led the ten-year voucher battle in Milwaukee, “We were putting power in the hands of low-income parents to make sure they really did benefit. This entire parental choice struggle is about who can control the educational dollars.”
Sweden, among the most “progressive” of nations, instituted parental choice in education in 1992. It’s doing just fine – with improvement and increased satisfaction in both private and public schools, without the predictions of doom coming to pass!
Free enterprise is the engine of a free society. Just as it is essential in driving a successful economy, so too with education. Our nation came to recognize the importance of equal opportunity in housing, employment and public accommodations, and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We need to sponsor and pass the Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity. This would mandate equitable funding for children in non-public schools, while respecting the liberty of schools in hiring and provision of services. In accordance with the 10th Amendment, educational standards and means of funding would be left to the states.
Support for this measure is building at the grass roots level. As recently reported by Evelyn B. Stacey of the Pacific Research Institute, “Forty-four years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a new rights movement is gathering steam as ethnic groups are increasingly joining forces to press for school choice.”
Implementation of this legislation would surely bring innovative advancements in education by force of competition and substantially reduce bureaucratic waste.
Your signature on this legislation would bring real change and lift all of society from the bottom up.
Respectfully submitted, Israel Teitelbaum