Choicelessness in Education Contributes to Poverty

One of the most important jobs of families is to ensure their children get an education suitable to their talents and needs. Most parents start out eager to help their children in their schools, but can rapidly lose self confidence if involvement is superficial or rebuffed. What really hurts is if parents are perceived as incompetent in their role in education and told to "leave it to the experts". Choosing a school for their child and staying actively involved has been shown not only to help student performance, but also to contribute to family enhancement and parental efficacy. Parental choice in education, as seen by Berkeley Emeritus professor John E. Coons, can also contribute to family financial health.

There are a lot of benign effects of school choice but, for me, choice is family policy. It is one of the most important things we could possibly do as therapy for the institution of the family, for which we have no substitute. The relationship between the parent and child is very damaged if the parent loses all authority over the child for six hours a day, five days a week, and over the content that is put into the child’s mind. "What must it be like for people who have raised their children until they’re five years old, and suddenly, in this most important decision about their education, they have no say at all? They’re stripped of their sovereignty over their child. "And what must it be like for the child who finds that his parents don’t have any power to help him out if he doesn’t like the school? We are always complaining about the lack of responsibility in low-income families. But, the truth is, we have taken the authority away from them in this most important aspect of their child’s life…. "It’s a shame that there are no social science studies on the effect of choicelessness on the family. If you are stripped of power and kept out of the decision-making loop you are likely to experience degeneration of your own capacity to be effective, because you have nothing to do.If you don’t have any responsibilities, you get flabby. And what we have are flabby families at the bottom end of the income scale."

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly supports parental choice:

Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Note that private and independent schools literature to parents often states things like: "The parents are the primary educators of their children. As your school we are here to help". They are enablers, not disablers.

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