The speech I would have given
Remarks to the National Tea Party in Washington DC
By Steve Hunt
July 4, 2009
My name is Steve Hunt and I had the opportunity to see the public school system from the inside as an elected school board member in Fairfax County Virginia.
A well remembered Virginian, Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Nothing has changed even at the local school level. Our government was founded on a distinct distrust of government. It was a necessary evil. The majority of history had seen a pendulum swing between periods of dictatorial control that provided security with limited to no freedom and outright anarchy with full freedom and no security. The founders were looking for a balance that provided the security without the loss of liberty and freedom. They set up a government of checks and balances with three branches, each to keep the other two branches within their constitutional roles. The voter was to be the final check. If those elected to run the government were not functioning in accordance with the constitutional roles, it was the role and responsibility of the electorate to remove them from office. The peaceful transition of power through the election process has been an amazing part of our nation and is an historic anomaly.
But if the voters failed to understand and fulfill their role, if they failed to ensure elected officials stayed within their constitutional roles, the system fails. This is the reason the Founders believed so strongly that the voting populace needed to be educated and informed; why public access to education has always been important in this nation; and why it is critical to the survival of our nation. To effectively be the final check in our government, a voter needs some foundational knowledge. They need to be able to read to educate themselves on issues and events. They need to know the form of government that we have and how their role fits in to it. They need to know the history of how our government was formed and what the Founders intended as they crafted it. They need to understand math enough to know when the numbers coming out of the government do not add up. They need the critical thinking skills to apply this knowledge into an educated vote.
In the late 1800s, the socialist recognized this educated populace was a barrier to the advancement of their ideas and decided to influence the educational process to reduce the literacy in this nation. The progressive experiential educational system was born. It took almost 100 years, but it controls the public schools today.
Additionally, the very institution that is entrusted with teaching the next generation that our government was designed based on the Founders absolute distrust of a large central government, whose responsibility is to teach children that they are supposed to be wary of the growing power of government taking away their rights and liberties, is a government bureaucratic system that relies on larger government to expand its power and control. It is a conflict of interest and perhaps even foolish to expect a government school that is always seeking to grow its bureaucracy with increased taxes to teach students that they are to distrust government and to be ever vigilante of it. Little wonder some many Americans do not know the difference between capitalism and socialism.
Having tried as a school board member for 4 years to impact what is supposed to be on of the best school systems, I can tell you, that in its current form, it is not going to change. What is missing is the competitive environment that forces the focus to be on the service and on minimizing the overhead. We see an attempt to create that environment in the Virginia Standards of Learning and the No Child Left Behind legislation. However, these are focused on the bare minimum levels of achievement and will not necessarily push school systems toward excellence and do not provide any direct focus on the effectiveness of the administration.
The unions are often an easy target, but the real problem is deeply imbedded in the educational system. The current public school system began to fail when the progressive educational concept took over with experiential learning and the idea of teachers facilitating learning. Pythagoras spent a great deal of time developing his theorem, why should students today have to discover it for themselves.
Socialism only survives when it is operating in a vacuum. Once there is competition, the socialistic institutions fail because they cannot compete. The monopolistic government school system is no different. The educational system hates the competition of school choice more than any other school reform. You can see that in their pay-back from President Obama when they had him end the very successful voucher system here in Washington DC, home of one of the worst schools systems money can buy. Until the customer has an option to vote with their feet, the government schools will not change. The minorities will be trapped in their government dependency. Those that maintain their power by this unholy alliance will only seek to strengthen their grasp to choke off the chance for minorities to live the American dream through educational opportunity.
The best path to true equal opportunity in publicly supported education is to start with parental choice as to which public school their child attends. Start with choice within the public school system with the funds following the child. Pay the teachers based on their performance. And this is key, pay the principals based on the schools’ performance so that they are motivated to keep the best performing teachers. Not only do our colleges and universities thrive in a total competitive choice system, they make up the best under collegiate system in the world. Once the funds follow the student, we work to get those funds to follow any student into any accredited school.
Market forces are the best way to break socialistic monopolies. It gave us high technology cel-phones that the entire economic spectrum can afford. It gave us energy for our homes and vehicles that makes even the lowest income person in America the envy of most of the world. It can give us an educational system that will ensure that we stay the greatest nation on the planet both through our technical advancement and by ensuring we do not stray down the socialistic path of this administration again.