Bible ban? School choice!

This op-ed was originally published in the Standard Examiner on June 24, 2023.

Never give the government a power you wouldn’t want used against you.

The unintended consequences of giving government power were painfully evident in the recent controversy in Davis School District involving the Bible. The Bible was originally removed from schools in the district. It was only under immense community pressure that the decision was reversed.

But it still highlights the unintended consequences of giving the government power.

And this is true of many other laws in our country.

Instead of asking the government to create and enforce laws that align with our individual worldviews, you and I should be demanding that they acknowledge our rights.

Parents have the right to direct their children’s education. That right doesn’t come from the government. Any laws surrounding education should be focused on supporting that right for all parents.

It is why Utah and many other states are passing bills supporting choice in education.

Public schools have always been and will always be the center of public controversies.

Arguments over what is happening in public schools are the result of people and groups using the government to force their worldview on others.

This isn’t the first time, and likely won’t be the last time that we need to learn such lessons.

Many states, including Utah, have a section in their constitutions known as Blaine Amendments. Blaine Amendments were used by Protestants in the late 1800s to limit Catholic schools. Those amendments, though not changed in wording, are now used to limit any religious expression in schools.

The 1900s were filled with debates over separation of church and state. The Supreme Court ruled in cases on evolution, prayer in school and reading of the Bible. Recent stories on LGBTQ curriculum and book bans are today’s controversies.

These ideological battles take up precious time and resources for the schools.

Public schools are asked to be all things to all people — an impossible task.

Parents want education choices for their children, and this is a good thing. Some want a school focused on their child’s future career. Others want the school to help their child be well rounded and exposed to a wide variety of topics and interests. They want their child to explore their passions and find what they love.

Some parents want the school to teach them values, while others want the school to only teach academics.

The reality is that public schools are not the best way to deliver an education with so many wide and varied demands. It wasn’t designed to.

There are so many new and exciting ways for children to learn. Parents should take the time to explore these options. With schools ranging from completely no tech to all tech, and schools with and without religion, there is something out there for every family.

Parents are frustrated with what is and what is not taught in public schools. Parents are frustrated trying to get the public schools to change to meet their needs, and it isn’t working.

It may be time to walk away.