Don't Tell Us How to Parent Your Child

Published on: 10/22/2010

State control over local education seems to be ever-growing and not just a little oppressive.  The latest item is the brouhaha over the Cedarburg School Board’s decision this past summer to have parents ‘opt-in’ for certain sex education classes for their children.

The opt-in decision involves five sections of the sex education curricula that include contraception, intercourse, homosexuality, abortion and masturbation.  Obviously parents should have no control over their children’s education in this regard if we are to believe the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  That is patently ridiculous.  Parents need to be more involved rather than less involved.

Legislation passed recently requires this “comprehensive” curriculum if a school district offers sex education.  This is but another example of the usurpation (from my perspective) of local control and parental control over the education of our children.  This is representative of the increasing state control of more and more local issues.  Of course the ultimate weapon is financial control since school districts are subject to an arcane set of state funding hoops that often seem counter to common sense.

The school board members are quoted as saying they felt that requiring a positive ‘opt-in’ involved parents more than did a passive ‘opt-out’ approach.  For this blasphemy that district is being threatened with ‘legal action’.

Centralized control has not led to the perfect world that is almost always touted by those who favor central control.  This “one size fits all” approach to the education of children is abhorrent.  We see parents rebelling and there is a reason for that rebellion.  Children’s lives and futures are at stake, and parents must have some control over those outcomes.

There are, equally as obviously, those parents who seem very happy to abdicate their responsibilities and let the schools become the pseudo-parents of their children.  That is equally abhorrent but does not necessarily mean that we must knuckle under to state-run education systems that too often do not produce the results that were promised.

There is talk, in this election season, of the elimination of the federal education department.  Maybe we ought to be thinking about that for Wisconsin; or, at the least, a reshaping of what has become our present Department of Public Instruction along with a revision to the manner in which local education is funded.