Education in Texas: Not What the State Constitution Requires.

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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

3 Comments

  1. Dwayne: Education in Texas is worse than can be imagined–what the tax payer pays for and what is forced on the school system is beyond the pale. I have said EXACTLY what you are saying—exactly, word-for-word. I have a Texas Constitution and I have those passages you quoted high-lighted. Also, tell me why tax payers money is spent on any sport–especially football? Why do I have to pay for your child to play football? How much of the school budget is spent on sports and related sports? Sports are dangerous–concussions can be life changing and lethal? I am opposed to football but I HAVE to pay for it through taxes if I am a property owner. If you want your child to play football, join a private league–football has nothing, NOTHING to do with maintaining freedom and liberty (which can be taught in the first four (4) years of school) and then if you want your child to get more education–go to private schools!!! Free public schools should teach reading, writing, arithmetic for four years only. This provides the child the tools to develop for themselves the skills needed to be free and successful. If more is needed/wanted a strong private school system will be developed. The citizen then pays for their children ONLY while attending school–not a life time as a property owner for everybody else’s children.

    • You know, it’s funny, but I don’t think the Constitution gives us a right to breathe air wuhtoit chemical toxins in it, and it doesn’t guarantee us the right to drink water that’s uncontaminated with lead.I don’t think it guarantees anyone the right to either an education or health care, either.But wuhtoit breathable air, drinkable water, and education and health care, life for millions of Americans will become Hell.I think the Preamble to the US Constitution, with its remarks about promoting the general welfare, does envision the US government taking many different steps to advance well, the welfare of the American people. I think it’s Constitutionally legal, within the letter of the law, and it’s within the spirit behind the Constitution for the government to promote clear water, clean air, an educated public and affordable health care because wuhtoit all these things, the general welfare goes down the toilet.So I agree with you that these good things these things that are almost essential to life, and to a civilized society are not necessarily natural rights. But I don’t care. I think we as a society should be promoting them anyway, and that the US government should be playing a big role in that effort. As for violence the threat of violence uh, how do you think the American Revolution was won?How do you think the United States expanded from being a relatively small nation consisting of just 13 states along the Atlantic seaboard, to being a huge nation of 50 states stretching from the Rio Grande to the Canadian border, and from Plymouth Rock to Hawaii?How do you think the slaves were freed and the Union was preserved in the 1860s?How do you imagine that several hundred million white Causians, by the year 2000, ended up owning and controlling millions of acres of real estate that just 500 years ago was the exclusive domain of the Native American tribes?I’ve read Ayn Rand on the supposed virtue of selfishness so long as the selfishness is never accompanied by force or the threat of force.But throughout history, how many successful societies can you name that weren’t established, preserved extend through force or the threat of force?England? France? The USA? Germany? Japan? The Netherlands? Italy? Russia? China? Where in the world do you see anybody owning enjoying the use of private property or natural resources, where there’s no prior history of force the threat of force? Was this answer helpful?

      • Luzia,

        The term “General Welfare” does not mean what you think it means.

        “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” ~ James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792

        You are correct in saying things like education and healthcare are not natural rights, but your right to protect yourself and your property are.

        Governments are instituted by men to protect liberty and freedom, and Constitutions are implemented by men to restrict the offices of government. This is all they are intended to do; nothing more, nothing less. What has happened in the USA is unsurprising. We have allowed it to become unlimited and as with all free republics before us, we are now beginning to pay for that mistake.

        As far as I can tell by reading your comment, you are perfectly fine with allowing those in government to force individuals to behave in a particular manner, as long as it is suitable to you. I would say when you have an issue with your air, water, or property, and it is the direct result of another’s actions, you have a legal path to protect yourself, but at no time should we ever give the power to rule over every aspect of our individual behavior to a government. Just look at the USA today: it is made up of over 320 million people who are quite literally ruled over by an elite class of 546 individuals. This is the worst possible formula for protecting freedom and liberty, and if history has proven anything, it has proven that this will end, but it will end badly.

        As far as violence, might will generally always rule over rights, but I’m not sure how that is relevant to the post or the prior comment.

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