If you have a child in a public school in Texas, you likely have already been introduced to the wide range of testing requirements needed to achieve a high school diploma. These requirements, while generally confusing, also seem to change faster than a lobbyist can change suits. It would appear testing has become a main focus point for every political faction in the State. We all want our children to be well educated, but I have to ask: What is the actual purpose of these tests?
When I read the Constitution of the State of Texas it is clear to me that the purpose of the State’s education system is the same today as it was when the document was adopted in 1876, “it is essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people.”
The idea that we are somehow constitutionally bound to educate every child for the primary purpose of attending a university is wrong. The requirement set forth in the Texas Constitution is clear, and when the State Legislature takes tax money from Texans in one part of the State, to subsidize something that is not required in another part of the State, they are acting unconstitutionally. I support extra curricular, specialized, and advanced classes, but local control should take precedence in this area.
The purpose of education in Texas, according to our Constitution, is to protect individual liberty and rights; the basic tenets of a republic based in federalism. In 1875, while debating the education article and prior to ratifying it in the Texas Constitution, Major Charles S. West, of Travis, read a few quotes to express his position. The following is from Say’s Political Economy:
“If the community wish to have the benefit of more knowledge and intelligence among the laboring classes, it must dispense it at the public charge. This object may be attained by the establishment of primary schools of reading, writing, and arithmetic.”
Concerning the quotes he read, Mr. West said:
“These, sir, and hundreds more, might be cited to show the importance of public education. So much importance did the fathers of the Republic of Texas attach to the care of public education that it was one of their chief complaints against Mexico that she had failed to provide a system of public education, and for the diffusion of knowledge.” Saying in their Declaration of Independence: “It is an axiom in political science that unless the people are enlightened it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty or the capacity for self-government.”
I would argue that in order to meet the requirements of our Constitution, it is imperative that the Lone Star State refocus education on reading, writing, arithmetic, Texas history, American history, federalism, republicanism, limited government, and liberty.
Education in Texas, like everything else in America, is basically controlled by an elite few located far, far, away, in the National Government, and what little control is left to the State is overrun by government bureaucracy and corporatism.
Under our current system, will future generations of Texans be able to sustain their Republican form of government, individual liberty, or rights?
Hope springs eternal.
Dwayne Stovall – Get Off My State 09/09/14