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High school-educated, working-class parents aren’t capable of overseeing their own child’s education, a state lawmaker said last week.
New Hampshire state Sen. Jeanne Dietsch, D-Peterborough, made the comment at a committee hearing last Tuesday while promoting a bill that would stop the state Board of Education from creating a new way of allocating high school graduation credits.
“This idea of parental choice, that’s great if the parent is well-educated. There are some families that’s perfect for. But to make it available to everyone? No. I think you’re asking for a huge amount of trouble,” Dietsch said.
Dietsch’s remarks represent a growing trend among leftist politicians to belittle, even vilify, a parent’s role. The trend stems from an ideology that insists the nanny state is superior to parents.
Dietsch’s political commentary was a full-on attack on parental rights and education in America, with a side of elitism to boot.
A fellow legislator, state Rep. Glenn Cordelli, R-Tuftonboro, asked the obvious question of Dietsch.
“Is it your belief that only well-educated parents can make proper decisions for what’s in the best interest of their children?” he asked.
Dietsch went on to explain that her views on what makes a parent qualified are based on her personal history, which seems like a biased way to examine a legislative proposal:
In a democracy, and particularly in the United States, public education has been the means for people to move up to greater opportunities, for each generation to be able to succeed more than their parents have. My father didn’t graduate from high school, so it was really important that I went to college.
The presumption that a state senator would know what is best for families across the state of New Hampshire reeks of hubris. It shows a misunderstanding of the role of family, not to mention demonstrates an elevated, starry-eyed view of public education.
For starters, plenty of Americans without a college education are intelligent problem-solvers and successful people. Often, they own their own businesses or are in blue-collar trades such as plumbing, electrical work, construction, and the like.
Of course, additional education—particularly in professions such as medicine and law, or certain businesses—can be necessary, but it’s not vital for every industry.
Not everyone is wired for a vocation that requires a Ph.D. To presume a parent couldn’t teach his child what is necessary to go to college or to thrive in a blue-collar field—jobs that are disappearing and in high demand—smacks of the sort of self-righteousness we have come to expect from too many politicians on the East Coast.
Although state public education is ideal for many families, it does not work for everyone. For some families, including those who travel a lot or are in the military—or, heck, look at kids in Hollywood—homeschooling is best.
I once knew of a family who homeschooled because their child wanted to be a professional surfer—so he preferred to do school online Monday through Thursday and surf the rest of the days.
Elected officials should applaud the many educational choices available to families today and help families become empowered to make the choices that are right for their children.
Dietsch’s comments are typical of leftist politicians who want to subvert the role of parents and replace them with the all-knowing state. One hallmark of progressive ideology that Democrats such as Dietsch clearly subscribe to is the view that the state is superior to the family—including, and especially, when it comes to education.
State officials, politicians, even law enforcement, know best and many moms and dads are just ignorant rubes who can barely feed and clothe their kids, let alone teach them. This mentality reminds me of the kind of socialism that caused the collapse of nations before our eyes: Both of our major political parties should reject it.
A basic tenet of America’s founding principles is that “we the people” wield the power, make decisions, and hold elected officials accountable for their roles, not the other way around. The state doesn’t exist to squelch the family, but to empower the family.
Particularly today, when blue-collar jobs are necessary to fill in obvious gaps, parents with a high school education who want to encourage their children to take a similar path should do so, and with confidence.
State lawmakers should encourage families to choose an educational path that’s right for them and leave their own elitist opinions out of the debate.
This article appeared at The Daily Signal in 2020.
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