Chariho School Parents’ Forum

April 19, 2008

School Choice promoted in Westerly Sun

Filed under: School Choice — Editor @ 5:45 pm

A contributor to the Westerly Sun writes about the legal authority a town council or mayor has to implement school choice.

In Education, Parents should have the choice on what and how 

The California Court of Appeals judge who ruled recently that parents “do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children” probably thought the point was obvious. He lives in California, where liberalism is still a flour­ishing belief system, and where parents are widely regarded as simply the mechanism whereby new generations of youngsters are created and turned over to the state for polishing.

 But he is a loser nonetheless, as he will discover when his rul­ing is overturned on appeal or, failing that, struck down by the legislature or, if necessary, by an amendment to the state constitution.

The parents of California are not about to surrender the right to decide what fundamentals their children shall be taught.

That is not to say that parents in California or elsewhere, have or ought to have an exclusive right to determine that ques­tion. We live in a complex socie­ty, under rules that necessarily apply to all of us, and our chil­dren must be taught many things that they must do, and not a few that they must not. We could not possibly survive if rebellious, or even simply inven­tive, parents were allowed to raise their offspring in ways that defy essential standards of behavior.

But that still leaves vast areas of belief in which reasonable people can and do differ, and there is no reason in the world why parents ought not to be able to instruct their children in what they regard as the right way to act in those areas.

Should teenagers be allowed to drink or smoke, and, if so, at what ages? What, if any, are the limits on sexual behavior? Just how important is simple hon­esty, and what is the proper role of compassion? These, and many other questions, are the proper province of parents, and the notorious difficulty of getting children to conform to decent rules in regard to them is no excuse for having the state barge in and arbitrarily take over the whole process.

To be sure, some parents will grossly neglect their obligations in this regard, out of laziness or sheer ignorance, and then it will be necessary for the state to step in and take over the role of “in loco parentis” — in place of the parents.

That may well be all the judge in the California case thought he was ruling. But it is not what he said. He didn’t rule that the state could intervene in cases where parents neglected their obligation; he denied that the primary obligation rested with the parents at all.

A reasonable acknowledgment of a parent’s rights in this regard can certainly specify that particular subjects must be taught, and I see no reason why a parent ought not to be required to know enough about the rudiments of teaching to do the job properly.

But no one who has witnessed what goes on in many American classrooms today will readily argue that a properly trained parent couldn’t do better. Children in many public and private schools are subjected to an “education” that is positively hair-raising.

I expressed at the outset my confidence that the California judge’s ruling will be overturned on appeal, or, if necessary, reversed by the legislature or a constitutional amendment.

Quite possibly there will be a provision, in the revised law, that the state may intervene if the child in question is not get­ting an adequate education at home. But the key provision will vest priority for the child’s edu­cation in his or her parents’ hands, where it belongs.

Most parents will be only too happy to leave instruction in matters such as arithmetic in the hands of professional teach­ers. But a lot of them will draw the line at having their children taught civics by tin-horn revolu­tionaries who confuse them­selves with Patrick Henry.

William Rusher is an accomplished author, former publisher of the National Review and former vice chairman of the American Conservative Union.




  1. […] Posted at CSPF: […]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » The Westerly Sun publishes pro-education-choice OpEd — April 19, 2008 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

  2. Mr. Felkner, the school choice issue is state wide by evidence of letters to the Editor in the Providence Journal. I will need to find copies of such and try and give proper credit to the ‘author’.

    The Unions always say its about lack of money, of course the money goes to the union and administratrators first along with benefits and the first throats cut are the children. It has been well documented recently how the public schools are failing the kids in a ‘global economy.’

    You’ve been on the ball and straight to the point which ruffles many feathers. It reminds me of the movie, ‘A FEW GOOD MEN’ . . .you can’t handle the truth. And your right parents can’t. Pro creation isn’t the end of parent hood its the start of being involved, wanting the best for children and wanting answers to questions. On the other side its not the teachers fault on all occasions when the parents feel its up to someone else to provide on many levels. If you want to pro create be involved in your childrens lives and who is in charge of their failure or success to educate.

    Walk up parents, your childrens education is a higher priority than whether the ‘sox or yanks’ beat each other at the end of the season.

    Felkner as his work job and studying trends is so superior to his ‘partners’ on the school committee and that isn’t to take away from them, should listen up. He has statistics to back his points and not baseless opinions.

    Comment by Manny — April 20, 2008 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  3. Not sure who Manny is but I think i saw the same point from a letter to the editor in the journal regarding school choice. It isn’t a concept that Felkner came up with its country wide results based education performance. Since he (Felkner) has http// site he’s on top of this type of information.

    Comment by James — April 20, 2008 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  4. A lot of good stuff going on at

    Felkner goes to the head of the class.

    Comment by James — April 20, 2008 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  5. Chariho Parrot/Parent, as you for some reason you’ve been renamed, educate yourself on the oceanstate policy site listed above. your not much of a parent if you think chariho is doing your children good. Of course one assumes you know that already and your part of the ‘system’.

    Comment by Ty — April 20, 2008 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  6. CP has denied being part of Chariho and professes to be unhappy with performance and spending but when it comes time to try something different or to curb Chariho spending until things turn around, she gets in a tizzy when we suggest it.

    She may be the female Petit as he goes along with the status quo while acitng like CP and agreeing with us there are problems. Something is strange when people admit to problems but don’t do anything to solve them. Always negative about what we want to try but never have ideas of their own except to keep doing what hasn’t worked.

    Comment by Real Question — April 20, 2008 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  7. RQ, what have you done to solve the problems besides write on this board and bitch about them? Suggesting School Choice but doing nothing to try to get it implemented isn’t doing much, if anything. My daughter will be out of Chariho in less than 2 months and has faired better in Chariho than she had in the previous school system that she was in. At least in Chariho, her teachers worked with us to help her along with her Math skills which were at a 4th grade level when she first entered Chariho in the 8th grade. She can now do Algebra without any help from me. Yes, their are problems in Chariho but I also try to work with people, much unlike yourself that prefers to put people down.

    Ty, I’ve read things on the Ocean State Policy Institute web site. Some things I agree with, some things I don’t. I’m entitled to my opnions, just as you are. Read above what I said to RQ in regards to how my child has faired at Chariho. I don’t think Chariho is perfect by any means but what school district is?

    Also, please stop calling me a female since I’m actually a male. It just goes to show everyone that a lot of folks jump to conclusions without knowing anything about them. If so many of you have jumped to conclusions about my gender it leaves one to wonder how many things you’ve jumped to conclusions about in regards to Chariho that are dead wrong. I guess if the conclusion comes from Hopkinton, it must be fact. Now who are the morons?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 20, 2008 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

  8. Don’t take offense…I don’t like writing he/she so I took a guess. Nothing wrong with either sex.

    Nice to know that your unfailing support of the Chariho status quo is for selfish reasons. Sorry, but I don’t accept Chariho’s performance because there are worse schools. Glad it worked out well for your daughter. Too bad you didn’t have any other choices. Other parents may not be as lucky as you and your daughter but since it worked out for the two of you I guess it really doesn’t matter.

    I believe talking about solutions is one of the first steps towards solving problems. Since you offer nothing of substance I can understand why you are unaware of the process.

    You can go to bed worry free. Your daughter made it through. The rest of us will concern ourselves with the futures of all the other kids.

    Comment by Real Question — April 20, 2008 @ 7:51 pm | Reply

  9. RQ, I suppose you feel you offer something of substance. The way I see it, all you have to offer is whining and complaining. Get off your butt and do something about it if you don’t like it! At least I’m in involved in my community and try to make a difference by volunteering to do things when needed, to lend a helping hand, to work with what we have to make a difference. Sitting there and writing on this blog but doing nothing else offers nothing to anyone. Again I ask, now who’s the moron?

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 21, 2008 @ 4:04 am | Reply

  10. The answer to your question is the majority of Richmond voters.

    We live in a country where voicing your opinion is allowed and can have influence. We had a President who made pretty much every decision based on polls. Worked out pretty good for him at the time.

    I’m not sure why our opinions here get CP so angry if they are useless. You’d think he’d leave us alone if our opinions were meaningless. If we’re watsting time sharing our opinions I wonder what he’s doing attacking every idea we discuss? Not only moronic but hypocritical too!

    Comment by Real Question — April 21, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  11. RQ, wait one darn minute! You’re the one who keeps call me and other citizens of Richmond morons. You’re the one who says I contribute nothing. You expect me to just take your idiotic comments and not say anything? Who’s the bigger hypocrite for critizing anyone who doesn’t agree with you? I try to voice my opinion and get critized for them by you. Talk about being a hypocrite. What a moron you make yourself out be!

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 21, 2008 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  12. Do you have any ideas for improving Chariho’s performance CP or do you only criticize other people’s ideas? Maybe I miss your solutions because I don’t think giving Chariho more money is really an answer? If giving Chariho more money is your idea then sorry, but in my opinion you are a moron. Any other ideas?

    Comment by Real Question — April 21, 2008 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  13. Yes, I have plenty.

    The biggest problem is not so much the administration but the strangle hold that the NEA has on the taxpayers throughout the state. It’s very evident that both the administration and the school committee are totally inept at negotiating contracts, this goes for all school districts, not just Chariho. No former teacher who has belonged to a union within the previous 5 yrs should be eligible to be on the school committee for any school district, they ties are still too strong. Another thing is teachers have to get into the real world and start to contribute more to their health insurance. Teachers should get increases based on some sort of merit system, not just because of longevity within a particular school district.

    But if Hopkinton hates the school district so much, why does it stay and not at least attempt to get along with the other two town to come up with some real reforms. What I hear on here is that it has to be Hopkinton’s way or forget it. Hopkinton’s Town Council President said at the last Omnibus meeting that it’s about time we begin to ack like a district but I don’t see any attempt at that with the way Hopkintonians conduct themselves. If we were a true district, we wouldn’t need 4 elementary schools. We wouldn’t have to have kids from Hopkinton pass right by Richmond Elementary only to go to the Hope Valley School. Kids from Ashaway that actually live closer to Hope Valley Elementary wouldn’t be going to Ashaway Elementary. Richmond kids wouldn’t be passing within a mile of Charlestown to go up to Richmond Elementary. The towns are still too parochial in their thinking when it comes to the elementary school students.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 21, 2008 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  14. We may disagree with what are the biggest problems, but I don’t disagree with any of your ideas CP. Trouble is that the changes you seek can only be brought about if Chariho and the state is forced to change. They’ve proven they won’t change under the current status quo. Agreeing to every budget and every bond is one sure way to make sure nothing changes.

    Hopkinton’s way is to reject all spending until Chariho changes in positive ways. If Richmond and Charlestown believe they can keep on the same path and expect change, then I suspect Hopkinton will keep voting no to all spending. If we are to be a school district that should include everything. This would include tax burden and elementary schools.

    Right now voting no is our only power. Once we vote yes all the power is in the hands of Chariho’s administration and the NEA. We know what that gets us and our kids.

    Comment by Real Question — April 21, 2008 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  15. A blanket no vote to everything regardless of merit proves nothing, does nothing. That’s the problem that we currently have, we’re stagnant. I’ve been doing some travelling and to see the schools that are out there we are woefully behind in what we’re providing our kids. I firmly believe that’s another part of our problem and why we lag behind in school performance. We have schools buildings, mostly at high school and elementary schools, that are 3rd class, not even 2nd class. I want our children to have 1st class schools, to have the tools available to them to learn in this modern age. I’ve seen the technology setup at the high school, honestly, it stinks, but they’ve done what they could with what they have available to them. If we can get the teachers to reform their contracts to be in the real world and give our kids the school atmosphere that they need and deserve, I’m sure that would go a long way into improving the results that we all expect as taxpayers. Perhaps this is one reason why when you have school choice and new schools show up, in new, modern buildings, their performance increases. They now have the tools that are sorely needed.

    Comment by CharihoParent — April 21, 2008 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  16. Now we are disagreeing again. It’s not about the money. We already spend plenty. It is about how the money is used and Richmond and Charlestown’s continued willingness to give more regardless of how it is squandered. Hopkinton has wisely said enough is enough.

    If school choice results in new buildings at the same or lower costs to families, then this is one more reason to be avidly pro choice.

    Comment by Real Question — April 21, 2008 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  17. Chariho has many problems. Not getting enough money from area families isn’t among their problems. They already take too much from us and I’m not inclined to give them any more.

    Comment by Truth or Consequences — April 22, 2008 @ 12:35 am | Reply

  18. They don’t need more money. They need to be responsible with what they have. Private schools do it for much less. Chariho can do it too. It’s up to us to make sure they get the message. Hopkinton is leading the way once again.

    Comment by Real Question — April 23, 2008 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

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