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Letter to the Editor – by Beth McElvain

Dear Editor:

Our public schools have been failing miserably since the Department of Education was instituted in 1979 by Jimmy Carter. This is not the teacher’s fault; this is the fault of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This state agency in collaboration with their federal counterpart have saddled every teacher with so many underfunded federal programs, regulations, bad ideological curriculums, etc., that much school time is wasted. For example, Obama’s executive order 13672 required schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. Biden has already mandated girls’ sports to accept biological males who identify as female by signing executive order 13988. Springfield public schools are presently teaching Critical Race Theory (white males are the problem with America). Good things happen in our public schools, but it’s not because of the institution, it’s because of the individual effort of the students and the teachers. Even though the institution has little to do with the achievements, they are quick to take credit for it, like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

I feel greater things will happen when teachers and students get away from the social engineering and indoctrination of our government schools. The state of Missouri needs to provide alternatives for education now with vouchers and scholarship programs, so parents have options when public schools are required to teach things they disagree with. With school choice, students and educators will be unleashed to reach their potential. No doubt the law could require any school accepting vouchers to enable a teacher’s retirement to follow him or her. Parents can train their children in good character, good morals and good manners without a national curriculum and programs undermining the parental effort. Competition between public and private schools will improve both institutions by enhancing educational diversity, allowing more specialized programs, and improving quality.

According to the American Federation for Children, 26 states have school choice programs. Over 500,000 students are enrolled in private schools and the number is rapidly growing. There have been 17 empirical studies that have examined academic outcomes for private school choice participants; 11 report positive test score effects; 4 studies found no significant effects; and only 2 studies have found negative impact in early years of study. Choices will allow lower income families greater options if they disagree with the philosophy and policies of a public schools. They will no longer be trapped in a “one-size fits all,” system. I do not believe the school choice program will topple public schools; it will only offer more options to parents that want “what’s best for their kids.” In addition, teachers could also teach at a school that is more to their style. It would be a win-win for parents, children, and teachers. However, I do realize some administrators and the NEA (National Education Association) might not like the idea.