This op-ed appeared in the NH Union Leader.
I IMMIGRATED to America because I truly believed this country would protect all of our rights, including parental rights to decide how to raise and educate their children.
The country I came from, China, currently bans all non-governmental schooling including home schools. Fundamentally they believe children belong to the state, not the parents. One of the Ten Planks of Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx is: “Free education for all children in government schools.” Well, the education was not really free, my parents had to work six days a week for the state factories to pay for me and two younger brothers.
In the last three decades, I have seen the chipping away of parental rights in America. In Colorado, I was not happy with the local public elementary school. I enrolled our three kids in parent-controlled charter school. I even served on the school’s Governing Council to exercise parental control.
It seems now things are getting worse. “Flattening the curve” extended shutdowns, though directed at COVID-19, are in reality flattening the learning experience from grade school to college. Clearly, extended shutdowns inhibit opportunity for in-person instruction.
However, most of the private schools remained open, but working parents though, including many minorities, can’t afford to send their children to private school and pay high property taxes. These parents must work while their children are left alone at home to deal with online schooling. Some of the students suffer depression and social isolation. The students’ suicide rates have increased in many cities.
We should trust parents to make the best-informed decisions for their children. One size does not fit all. If parents are happy with the local public school, they can keep it. If they feel their children need other options, we should respect that. Choice is what freedom is all about. Parents are the best advocates for their children and the best ones to judge if their kids are getting quality education.
Let’s give parents back their rights by allowing them to exercise school choice. It is wrong and un-American to force parents to send their children to schools they do not approve of. I urge my fellow citizens in NH to support SB 130 on education freedom accounts.