Headlines telling of a few states defying federal education law gave fresh hope that the very people who should set examples for our youth had finally decided to follow the Constitution and its all important Bill of Rights even though it meant giving up federal funds. What an effective civics lesson.
Why should Maine public schools meet federal education standards? According to amendments IX and X of the U.S. Constitution, education was left to the states and the people. So we can and should ignore those outsiders who send us money and tell us how to run schools that fail as their own records so prove. Remember the old saying, “Whoever pays the fiddler calls the tune.”
Our Maine Constitution states, “the Legislature are authorized and it shall be their duty to require the several towns to make suitable provision at their own expense for the maintenance of public schools.” Then why hasn’t the present Legislature removed the 55 percent figure to finance education mandates?
Just months ago, those very legislators took oaths of office to discharge their duties “according to the Constitution and laws of the State.” How then, could they pass the charter school law, which includes “eligible for federal grants and funds” and “for purposes of receiving local, state and federal funds” etc. in its pages?
Town-supported public schools are mandated by the Maine Constitution. Residents of each town would be zealous to see the children were doing their homework and getting a real education for the townspeople’s hard-earned and carefully spent education dollars.
Our state still has sound requirements in place. See Title 20 Education Law, The Teaching of Virtue and Morality, ignored by the Department of Education and Cultural Services, school boards and superintendents. Can’t they read? Teaching chastity, moderation and temperance is the law — as well as a sacred regard for truth, love of country and humanity. Instead, by example, Maine children are being taught to flout the law. Do you realize your tax dollars are being spent to educate a generation of lawbreakers?
The Maine Constitution tells us “all power is in the people” and the people can “alter, reform, or totally change government when their safety and happiness require it.” More money has definitely proved not to be the answer. Let’s try using less.
Public education will improve only when God, truth and honor are restored to our government and schools. What are you going to do about it?
Bettina Dobbs of Rockland is a retired public school teacher, former technical consultant to the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and former president Guardians of Education for Maine.