It’s a plea you hear everywhere – why is no one doing anything? The schools are terrible. Children aren’t learning the basics. The role of parents has been diluted. Worse still, the foundation of public education, a belief in our God-given rights and our duty to pass them on to the next generation, has been threatened.
Covid had a silver lining; virtual learning opened the lens into the classrooms of public school children. Since then, many organizations composed of parents and concerned citizens have been unpeeling the layers of a very rotten onion. The exposure was necessary and long overdue. Now it’s time for the next step.
All across America, parental groups and local organizations have already been hard at work crafting solutions. What they’ve lacked until now is a national platform to share the fruits of their efforts, to spotlight those solutions that are working and showing direct benefits to students.
The newly formed national organization, Freedom in Education, www.freedomined.org, was created precisely to be collaborative – to share useful resources and effective remedies and to lobby for their universal adoption. Our targets? Parents’ groups, teachers, school administrators, school boards, local government, and legislators in all 50 states.
It’s a big job and one that must be done.
Here’s where you can make a difference.
Our mandate is to:
: Materially better our public school education
: Reintroduce freedom in education
: Empower parents
First and foremost, we intend to improve academic standards and curriculum in all areas. Fortunately, other groups have stepped up to the plate and taken on the elephant in the room — math and literary proficiency.
This leaves us free to target a third critical and often forgotten part of the curriculum – civics. We believe it is unfair to chastise a generation of students for their lack of patriotism when they were never taught why our country was founded, how our government is supposed to function, and what their role in it should be.
We have proudly partnered with the Civics Alliance, which has done yeoman’s work in drafting American Birthright Standards, a detailed action plan equipped with out-of-the-box resources and solutions that can be used by any concerned citizens or groups. Our mission is to widely promote the work of the alliance and lobby for every state in the union to adopt these standards and the curriculum that aligns with them.
Equally important, we will be focusing on children’s literature – not on the sexually explicit books in K-12 schools — we are grateful for the courageous parents who have boldly exposed and spoken out against them. Our mission is to promote restocking library shelves with the thousands of timeless and beautifully written books available for children and young adults, books that have been pushed out of the way by the sexually charged titles which have found a home in modern institutions. The books we spotlight promote and underscore the values upon which our country was founded and which have guided us for over two-hundred years.
Our website includes a list of recommended books, as well as links to more comprehensive lists that we endorse. We will send these recommendations to parents’ groups, local and state school boards, as well as administrators, and lobby them hard to imcorporate these titles into their schools.
We will highlight and celebrate the teachers and librarians who choose these selections and encourage students to read them. At the same time, we will challenge parents and community members to donate copies of these treasures to classrooms and libraries and to assist local communities in developing active buying plans.
Our second function is to promote educational freedom. This means that all parents, regardless of income, must be able to choose the best learning platform for their children. This may be a public school, private institution, homeschool, or another setting. A family’s income or address should not prevent them from ensuring their child has an opportunity to thrive, not merely survive, in school.
Decades of experience have demonstrated that school choice is material to student success. When parents have the freedom to select the best learning environment for their children, they set those children on the path to the pursuit of happiness as well-educated, independent-thinking adults.
We have partnered with organizations working on quality school choice legislation, and will be promoting solutions that are proving effective, legislation that withstands court challenges, and mechanisms to achieve school choice at both the state and local levels. A critical component is enlisting the support and active participation of teachers and recognizing those who stand up for choice – often against withering denunciation.
Our third broad initiative is the return to parents of their traditional role as the primary arbiters of their children’s education. Few critical thinkers today dispute the parents’ importance in the educational health of their students. In fact, we argue that the single most effective force for bringing about change in education is well-informed and superbly-equipped parents.
Daily, more parents everywhere are exhorting their rights to school boards, county boards and parent/teacher organizations. The next problem is how to put effective resources in the hands of these parents and their groups. This is where we come in, by spotlighting those efforts that work, those that are moribund, and those that still hold promise but need development. Gone are the days where parents could meet their child’s teacher at the PTA, supervise their child’s homework, and volunteer for a school fundraiser or two, and consider their job done. Today’s savvy and effective parents must deal with a heavily funded opposition, often onerous legislation, and layers of bureaucracy that resist all change, especially that empower parents.
Today’s successful parent must be willing to stand up to entrenched power, and to do so he or she needs to know in advance what parental rights are, what supportive tools exist, and where to get them. Modern-day parents do not have umlimited time or resources. It is our goal to help them maximize both.
In addition to the three broad initiatives presented above, Freedom in Education has formed two targeted outreach and motivation efforts – the Hispanic Coalition and the Teacher Coalition. We consider both to be vitally important.
Our Hispanic Coalition will be contacting the Spanish-speaking community to help equip these parents with the elements they require to advocate for their children’s unique educational needs. Just like parents everywhere, Hispanic parents need to have access to best practices and a toolbox brimming with ready-to-use resources, both in Spanish and in English.
Our Teacher Coalition aims to work alongside educators. Trying to solve issues without involving teachers is like trying to improve healthcare without consulting doctors. We believe a properly engaged teacher is the natural partner with parents in ensuring quality educational outcomes. Similarly, a teacher who fears or resists parental participation is not necessarily making the best decisions on behalf of the child. Freedom in Education is proud to partner with educators across the country as we pursue and promote practical solutions in and out of the classroom.
In line with this, teachers, many for the first time, will have access to valuable resources such as alternatives to teacher unions, useful and practical professional development, and a platform where they can securely share their concerns and experiences.
Freedom in Education places a strong emphasis on understanding the basics of what has worked and what has failed in the American education system over the past decades. Our hope is that the resources we detail and make available to everyone will be a catalyst for that learning process. Many remedies for our problems have been developed and many have proven effective; these need to be shared broadly and deeply throughout our land. Freedom in Education encourages a regular review of our website to discover the complete list of solutions, with regular updates, as well as best practices for promoting and implementing these solutions in your school, district, or community.
Freedom in Education will also host monthly “InfoHours,” focusing on specific topics and resources. These, too, can be accessed on the website.
As George Washington Carver said, “Education is the key that unlocks the golden door to freedom.” Freedom in Education strives to be the platform that unlocks the educational solutions for all stakeholders.
*Note: 501(c)(3) status applied for. Donations actively sought and welcomed.
Beth Majeroni s a retired reading specialist and reading recovery teacher from the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and a grandmother of seven. She continues her advocacy for literacy in the Savannah / Chatham County area as co-chair of the Savannah/Chatham County chapter of the newly formed national organization, Freedom in Education and past co-chair of the Savannah/Chatham County No Left Turn in Education organization. Beth is also Education Chair of Ladies on the Right, a local conservative organization. She speaks regularly at local school board meetings. Beth believes, as George Washington Carver says that, “Education is the key that unlocks the golden door to freedom,” and adds that literacy is the key that unlocks the door to education. Literacy is freedom and is the underpinning and foundation for all other learning. Literacy for all!!