FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGIOUS SPEECH
How does freedom of religion apply to new changes in education, such as the COMMON CORE and FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) regulations? Do these “educational reforms” not take away parental control of children’s data, and does not full implementation of Common Core nationalized education come with a federally perusable individual-child data collection plan? Doesn’t the government ascend above parents in authority thereby?
Bring on the LDS “Proclamation on the Family.” http://www.lds.org/family/proclamation
Education reforms of late have brought out the mother bear in me. I become angry when I see forces who have no respect for student privacy, for parental authority, and for educational freedom (but they do respect federal rule over education, federal rule over children, and federal rule over privacy). I also become angry that more parents don’t care, won’t study it, and blindly believe without verifying, what the Dept of Education and the USOE is saying.
Rather than attack with angry words, I try to educate with peaceable boldness and truth.
In this book, H. Verlan Andersen, a general authority of the Church (LDS) and a close friend of President Ezra Taft Benson, wrote:
“Of course we should avoid contention both in the Church and without. Many scriptures affirm this and declare that the penalty therefore is exclusion from the Kingdom of God. Where the Lord dwells there is harmony… but do we become one by keeping our differences to ourselves? Can we achieve unity by remaining silent? Obviously we cannot. To become of one heart and one mind demands a free exchange of ideas and views in an atmosphere of love and harmony.”
It is vitally important to be courageous enough to get involved with political and educational issues. While the Church officially takes a politically neutral stand, the church also counsels members not to! It counsels members to be active politically.
The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” — So the prohibition is against the government pushing its own ideas or religions on us (for example, the ‘religion’ of extreme environmentalism that they push in schools is not permissable). The prohibition is not against individuals or private organizations being involved in politics. In fact, the First Amendment guarantees that right.
And the church calls political involvement a responsibility as well as a right.
THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BE POLITICALLY INVOLVED AGAINST SOCIALISM AND FOR FREEDOM
President David O. McKay said, “We wish all our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it… various organizations that are attempting to awaken the people through educational means is a policy we warmly endorse“
So, how can the church be politically neutral yet stand up for Constitutional laws and freedom of religion, speech and press? Because political stands refer to candidates and voting, not to eternal principles like free agency and wise limitations on human governments.
President McKay said, “We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared he established ‘by the hands of wise men whom [he] raised up for this very purpose’ (D&C 101:80) and which…Joseph Smith, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be ‘established forever’ (D&C 109:54). The Church does not yield any of its devotion to or convictions about safeguarding the American principles… The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.”
President Ezra Taft Benson wrote that the “enhancement of political power at the expense of individual rights, so often disguised as ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘civil rights’ is socialism, no matter what name tag it bears.” He also said that “We must keep the people informed that collectivism, another word for socialism, is a part of the communist strategy. Communism is essentially socialism.” (This Nation Shall Endure, p. 90)
Is it too much to suggest that Common Core, the commonizing of education, is a move toward socialism and communism? Well, we have to share all things in common with all other states (not like the Lord’s law of consecration, where you choose to share; this is the “must” version, where you have to share or you get financially and in other ways, punished).
President Ezra Taft Benson wrote, “God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and how to combat false educational, political, religious and philosophical concepts of our time.” (Ensign, Jan. 1988)
The Jaredites in the Book of Mormon corrupted their laws and political power and were destroyed.
The Nephites in the Book of Mormon corrupted their laws, too. Part of the reason was that the righteous people were deceived into allowing the law to become corrupt. Are we repeating their mistakes? Yes.
Verlan Anderson wrote, “The only place the great majority of us use force to affect the freedom of others is through the agency of government, and so our political [and educational] decisions are, in reality, decisions about human freedom.”
It’s important to distinguish between laws and regulations that are constitutional and those which are not; the penalties for failing to obey the Lord’s political commandments are severe.
President David O. McKay said, “A fundamental principle of the Gospel is free agency, and references in the scriptures show that this principle is 1) essential to man’s salvation and 2) may become a measuring rod by which the actions of men, of organizations, of nations may be judged.”
So, free agency is a measuring rod to judge Common Core by. Does Common Core support or take away from the principle of free agency?
1. It cannot be amended by us. It is under copyright by the NGA/CCSSO. We are not free to change it.
2. It requires states to “address barriers in state law” that would stand in the way of its full implementation, making us more subject to national, rather than local, decision-making. We are not free to maintain such state laws as FERPA which stand in the way of the desire of Common Core to get easy governmental and research agency-access to our children’s personally identifiable information without parental consent.
3. It requires teachers and students to spend much time on a testing system they had no say in building and cannot amend (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium). These tests are given to state and federal agencies, dis-aggregated, and will be used to “guide” and control citizens.
4. Common Core requires teachers and students to follow CCSS standards, which will not allow many good things any longer. CCSS won’t allow Calculus to be taught in high schools any more, and will severely limit the amount of classic literature that is permissable in the English classroom, in favor of info-texts.
It makes many other requirements for educational standards which may be more rigorous, or may be less so, but the point is that we MUST obey these standards; we are not free to change them and as time goes by, we will be less and less able to withdraw from the system, being financially interwoven with it.
5. The document written by Arne Duncan of the Federal Department of Education, entitled “Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Dept of Education and the SBAC” (and Utah’s bound by it) –uses words like “comply,” compliance,” “requirements,” “enforce,” “enforcement” and “must” –repeatedly– which are words which do not support the idea of voluntarism or free agency. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/sbac-cooperative-agreement.pdf
How far have we come from Constitutional freedom of education? The tenth article of the Communist Manifesto cites “free education for all children” and “combination of education with industrial production” as its goals. The Common Core does combine education with industrial production, as Utah’s new P-20 workforce (Preschool to age 20 and workforce) councils strive to do. The idea is to track and guide students into the workforce that the government determines fits that student best because kids are seen as “human capital” belonging to the state.
So many people in Utah today have been deceived into giving up important freedoms over education and privacy, by the pretty promises of Common Core. The Common Core push was able to succeed in this deception because of legitimate, troubling problems of low educational outcomes in our state. We have so many people taking remedial classes at the college level. We have literacy problems and we need to improve education.
But commonizing and nationalizing education via the Common Core should never have been chosen as the answer to these serious problems. In choosing Common Core, we voted against our own freedom.