Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tyrants in Black Robes and Messianic Educrats

I know that I’m late to the party, but I wanted to proffer a few thoughts on the decision of a California court forbidding parents who lack teaching credentials from educating their children at home.

"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," wrote Justice H. Walter Croskey in his opinion on Feb. 28. "Parents have a legal duty to see to their children's schooling under the provisions of these laws."

According to the court, your children belong to the state, and it is the purpose of professional, accredited, and certified educrats to turn little Johnny into a shill for The Man.

"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," Croskey wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

Those shocked by the totalitarian premises and presuppositions of the court are laboring under the delusion that such tyrants have infected the public square only recently. In California, there is a longstanding tradition of undermining parental rights in the sphere of education in furtherance of a totalitarian and godless social order.

California has always been filled with rootless and displaced residents, and when it became a state in 1850 its constitution called for a state superintendent of public instruction. While private schools existed, there was neither an established tradition nor deep roots, as opposed to states in the east where private and church schools were typically the norm before the machinations of Horace Mann and his satanic spawn.

The third state superintendent was a dedicated educator named John Swett, who presided in imperial fashion over California’s schools from 1863-1868. Speaking to a group of teachers in 1863, Swett spoke of two fundamental axioms of statists everywhere:

"...early in the history of our country these two fundamental principles were enunciated and adopted: That it is the duty of a Republican Government, as an act of self-preservation, to educate all classes of the people, and that the property of the State should be taxed to pay for that education."


There are, of course, numerous problems with Swett’s careless remarks, but lets consider his statement that, "The property of the State should be taxed to educate the children of the State" (see page 115 at this link). Note the language; these are not children living in the state, but children that are the property of the state.

Swett went on to affirm that indeed he was not joking, "But children arrived at the age of maturity belong, not to the parents, but to the State, to society, to the country." Ostensibly what Swett was saying is that the state has the right to reach into the home and claim jurisdiction over its property—children.

Swett went even further in his 1864 Biennial Report, where he wrote that the state accredited teacher should be the locus of authority:

In school, where the mind is first placed under care to be fitted for the grand purposes of life, the child should be taught to consider his instructor, in many respects, superior to the parent in point of authority.


Likewise, parents have no rights as against teachers:

It is true that the school officers have certain rights in the schoolhouse; but the law will not allow even them to interfere with the teacher while he keeps strictly within the line of his duty. Having been legally put in possession, he can hold it for the purposes and the time agreed upon; and no parent, not even the Governor of the State, nor the President of the United States, has any right to enter it and disturb him in the lawful performance of his duties…The vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teachers is entirely erroneous….Parents have no remedy as against the teacher.


In Swett’s view, schools are extensions of state sovereignty rather than parental authority. Kids are simply wards of the state and parental rights in the ambit of education are forfeited except in private schools. Swett, incidentally, did recognize the existence of private schools. Unfortunately, others did not, and in 1874 California law was rewritten to make it a penal offense for parents to send their little ones to private schools without the consent of local school trustees.

What Rushdoony called the Messianic Character of American Education is not a new phenomenon (please, please read his book with the above title published in 1961). Indeed education being necessarily religious, the fight for control over the future, children, is an ongoing struggle in each generation.

Revolutionaries from Jacobins to Nazis to Bolsheviks have sought to control the future by controlling children. American liberals, and their ideological cousins, the Neocons, are no different with their propagandizing on behalf of universal daycare, expanded Headstart, Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, and the whole panoply of statist programs looking to supplant mom and dad and become the universal parent.

Christians ought to think long and hard about a collective exit from the public schools. As Christian parents, we ought not hand our children over to the enemy, and can anyone argue persuasively that these ignorance centers, spewing vile anti-Christian propaganda, are anything other than godless?

Some Christians argue that we must send our precious children into these Temples of Atheism so that they can be salt and light to a dying world. We must, they say, sacrifice our children to Molech in order to fulfill the cultural mandate. The problem with this argument is that the evangelism process usually works in reverse. The Nehemiah Institute and the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life have and continue to document the ongoing destruction of Christian children, whose faith is shipwrecked as they are unable to sweep past the Scylla and Charybdis of American culture, caught up in the siren song of liberation from family and faith. Are we to assume that this sad state of affairs has no connection to the fact that secular public education divorces God from creation and science, history, mathematics, and philosophy?

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