Unless you have been hiding in a cave somewhere, I'm sure you've heard of the raging debate concerning Common Core - federally mandated standards for students K - 12 in Math and English. Most of the opposition that I've read about seems to focus on the programs approach to math. However, more and more, people are seeing this as just one more intrusion on the part of the Feds to limit the choices of individuals (for instance, the teachers are restricted in how they teach these standards) and, especially in this case, parents.
That brings me to this. A few months ago I ran across this article and a statement made by a proponent of Common Core. I'll quote the article.
"Former Massachusetts education secretary Paul Reville dismissed opposition to Common Core. 'To be sure, there’s always a small voice – and I think these voices get amplified in the midst of these arguments – of people who were never in favor of standards in the first place and never wanted to have any kind of testing or accountability and those voices get amplified. ... But those are a tiny minority.' He continued arguing against leaving standards entirely at the local level. 'Why should some towns and cities and states have no standards or low standards and others have extremely high standards when the children belong to all of us?”
Uh...sorry Mr. Reville but, no, my children do not belong to you or to any other government institution or agency - they are not the property of the state. You're not going to tell me what I can and cannot teach my children; you're not going to tell me what I can and cannot feed my children in the lunchroom or in the classroom. Yet, I'm glad you said that because it reminded me of something that occurred a few years ago - a book written by former Secretary of State and prospective presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton - It Takes A Village.
I'll let her summarize, in her own words, the reason for writing the book on the tenth anniversary of its publication.
"The African proverb 'It takes a village to raise a child' summed up for me the commonplace conclusion that, like it or not, we are living in an interdependent world where what our children hear, see, feel, and learn will affect how they grow up and who they turn out to be. The five years since 9/11 have reinforced one of my main points: How children are raised anywhere can impact our lives and our children’s futures." Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p. xii Dec 12, 2006
On one hand she makes a valid point; our children are going to be shaped by people other than their parents - that is a fact. I can personally testify that who and what I am today has as much to do with a teacher, an employer and a pastor as it does with my parents. To that I would add, however, that in each case, those people validated and built upon what my parents had already instilled within me. Never did they try to undo or correct what my parents felt was important for me to know and learn, whether it be right or wrong. They always respected my parent's authority and responsibility for my ultimate well-being even if they disagreed. Was that the kind of "village" Hillary was proposing in her book? If so, then why the need to say it? That kind of "village" had been functioning for quite some time and with pretty good success I would say.
There are a couple of issues she addressed that, on the surface, sounded good even if I don't totally agree with all her conclusions. For instance, in the book, she did support kids' right to pray, if they so wished, and she did support that those of faith should be able to meet on school grounds like other groups. On the other hand, she also stipulated that students should never receive any religious guidance from their educators; teachers should remain neutral on this "contentious issue" (her words). Okay, fair enough but only if teachers are bound to remain neutral on other contentious issues, e.g. evolution and sex education. I don't know about you but it is obvious to me that the NEA, the AFT and other affiliated groups have NOT remained neutral on these issues because, and this is my opinion, there are those within their ranks that have a specific agenda; an agenda that, once those children cross the threshold of their local schools, does not respect the convictions and rights of parents.
Let me say here that, I speak in general terms knowing full well that there are many dedicated teachers and administrators who love their profession and who love their students. In fact, we need to pray for these brave souls for they are, no doubt, on the front lines of a great conflict, one that wishes to steal the very soul of our nation - the hearts and minds of our children. The evidence, nonetheless, makes abundantly clear that there are those in power - within the US Department of Education and, most likely, your local Board of Education - that consider your children to be their children.
Consider that Michelle Obama is encouraging students to monitor and challenge any comment made by their family that could be deemed as "racist." While I certainly do not advocate racism, in this day and age, the powers-that-be might consider me a racist and a bigot because I refuse to accept their standards of what is an acceptable lifestyle (i.e. same-sex unions). This challenge to defeat "racism" was voiced by the same woman who, indirectly, initiated and supports the notion that parents should be told what they can and cannot send in their children's lunch boxes. In some cases, when the parent-approved lunch didn't meet the school's standards, the child's lunch was sent home uneaten. Really? Do you see what's going on here? The Village is trying to take over our children's lives instead of supporting and reinforcing the authority and stewardship of parents.
I realize that, unfortunately, some parents have shirked their responsibilities where their children are concerned and are more than eager to defer those duties to relatives, neighbors and teachers. I'm sure it could be argued that, because of the dereliction of duty on the part of some, government feels responsible to assert their perceived "authority" and make decisions that affect all. I can't be certain of the true motives those who promote Common Core have but it certainly doesn't give me confidence that my best interests are in mind when their standard-bearers say something like, "the children belong to all of us" or when Hilary Clinton declares, "It takes a village." Based on recent history and what I see going on around me, I have no doubt that culture, governments and their pundits wish to grab my children away from me, if not physically, then heart and soul. As long as there is breath in me and with the help that comes from above, that is not going to happen.
Let's face it: there are people in this world who want to get into our children's minds and hearts in order to plant a corrupt seed and it is MY job - not the teachers' (with all due respect to you teachers) - to stand guard against any corrupt ideology that would be sown into their little innocent and trusting hearts. I mean, can I really trust their "village" mentality; it certainly didn't serve the best interests of Ambassador Stevens and the other men killed in Benghazi did it?
No, I am told that I am to:
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
Ultimately it's my job and responsibility to train and instruct my children and to do so in the fear and admonition of the LORD.
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
"Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth." (Psalm 127:3-4).
So then, if I take responsibility to teach my sons and daughter God's standards, truths and instructions, then they can grow up and positively impact this world for the Kingdom's sake. No wonder the Adversary wishes to steal my arrows; it's so he can shoot them at me.
More could be said, but I think you get the point - they want our children; with the help of the Almighty they shall not have them! That's my two cents for what its worth.