Posted by: Christine Johnson | January 7, 2008

Perusing the Issues: Education

I took a quick look at the issue of education on each of the top candidate’s websites. I had some random thoughts.

Mike Huckabee loses points immediately for using the phrase “Weapons of Mass Instruction” on his education page. That is just absolutely idiotic-sounding, and whoever came up with it should have not been allowed to stick it on the website.

Barack Obama loses points for his plan to expand education to infants. (See his “Zero to Five” plan on this page.) If there is one thing I can’t stand the thought of, it’s encouraging people to spend less time with their infants! When I was first in college, I learned about research that pointed to attachment disorders in children who had spent more than 20 hours a week away from their mothers as infants (under 12 months).

Fred Thompson gets bonus points for agreeing that the federal government has no business being involved in education. Constitutionally, he is correct. It’s nice to see someone in the GOP remember that it used to be a plank of the party to want the demise of the Department of Education. Realistically, he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of getting rid of the Department of Education, or even reducing its size and scope.

John Edwards loses big-time points for advocating universal preschool (see the video for some details on that). (“Our schools are failing. Let’s start failing our children even earlier.”) This is actually pretty bad, especially for homeschoolers, because it will wind up being mandatory. This means that you will have these choices: (a) have paperwork that starts even earlier if you homeschool, or (b) pony up lots of money to get your kids into a private preschool, or (c) let the government start educating your kids at 4 (for now – look at Obama’s plans to have “education for infants”!)

I’m glad that Huckabee supports homeschooling. So far, among the top candidates in each party (I’m going on primary results as of today, which is to say, Iowa), Huck is the only candidate that expressly mentions his support of homeschoolers. But that stupid phrase…whoever told him to use that on his website ought to be smacked upside the head!

As far as the Church’s teachings on education goes, we should begin with the statement that parents are the primary educators of their children. (CCC 2223) To me, this is a key, especially since Soccer Dad and I see homeschooling our children as a part of our vocation: it is part of our calling as parents. So when I vote for president, I will be looking for, among many other things, someone who does not wish to curb my right to educate my children with minimal interference from the government.

Christine
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