By Leslie Bienen
Really interesting points raised. I will say that living in the Last Free State in America, Florida, meant that we weathered the Wuhan Insanity better than the idiotic states who abused children with school closures and the rest of their totalitarian nonsense.
Destroy the teachers' unions, make schools compete for educational talent and let parents shop with their "education dollars" wherever there is a school offering the curriculum they like.
Free markets work everywhere they are practiced. The mishmash we have now in many states is an appalling disgrace.
I wrote on 31 March 2020 precisely how awful all this was going to be, and published it later without altering a word: https://christopherm.substack.com/p/the-future-is-always-more-valuable
My outrage at the Federal Government's abuse of children during the Wuhan Hysteria is WHY my co-founder and I created our podcast https://messytimes.show
We have not run out of material yet.
My concern with the positive right to education is that it has the very real possibility of eliminating the right to homeschool. A multitude of evidence supports homeschooling as a viable solution to the problems of public education and in some of the countries with these positive rights (Germany, France) it’s illegal to homeschool. I dunno. I don’t think it needs to be laid out as a positive right. I think a bunch of folks here have stated where the real problems lie.
It wasn’t until I became a mother that I fully realized how much the USA hates children and families. This essay explains what I’ve been experiencing the last eight years. Thank you for putting to world what has been a viscerally antagonizing experience. We are fortunate enough to have options to leave the country and this is what we are in the process of doing for all of our health and welfare.
Excellent piece. I don't know why more people aren't concerned about this issue. SO sad that kids became political pawns here. I was also shocked not to see more teachers advocating for their students. Just a total disregard for the lives of these kids. Someday they will find out they were robbed of an education. Then what...
I can't wait for the Federal government to enshrine this right to a public education, define precisely what a public education looks like, and enforce its provision with deadly authority.
Goodbye homeschooling. Goodbye charter schools. Goodbye legal custody of your children- the federal government needs to make sure your child is getting a government-approved education, and your classroom isn't segregated by race.
Yeah, more federal power will definitely help.
You argue against harms to children brought to us by the UN. Then, you proceed to argue that the solution for this is more UN.
This could only have been written by a person who thinks it's a good idea to continue to reside in Oregon.
People who think they are "sensible" are not. You guys are sleepwalkers. You identify one form of harm that's being done, and think that's all the harm. You continue to support 3/4 of the other harm.
The real sensible thing is to reconsider your entire worldview, and everything you've ever supported.
A brilliant and thorough history and call to action on children’s rights. Would the author ever consider creating a political action committee or group that reached across party lines to address the huge gaps in children’s rights protection? I believe parents and grandparents of all political beliefs could come together on this. If it were co-chaired by known advocates from both major parties, it could be not just a powerful force for children, but perhaps a force for unity as well.
From the perspective of one who was orphaned at six months old and aged-out of the American foster care system in the seventies, Leslie, government edict does not protect children from harm; parents and individuals with legal guardianship over children do.
The harm to children done during the Great Hysteria is a reflection of the malicious disempowerment of their parents and guardians, accomplished by means of deception.
You watched, as did we all, long-established pandemic protocols discarded in favor of a series of radical agendas that have damaged and destroyed the lives of millions. Those established protocols balanced the various harms, including acknowledgements that induced panic and poverty kill.
We have law that would, had it it been enforced, mitigated the harm caused by public health authorities that, instead of balancing harms in pursuit of lessening their overall effect, abused the trust and authority granted them for use under very restricted circumstances. Their dishonesty and irresponsibility caused the harms you describe.
The only new law we need is that which redefines the power given to unelected bureaucrats over the citizenry.
There is some hope, with local elections around the corner. Kids don’t vote, but parents do. Parents have longer memories.
As a resident of two of the blue areas you mentioned, I’ve noticed that the size of the school districts can make a difference on their responses to school mandates. County-wide districts (with 10-20 high schools) were much more resistant to opening or relaxing mandates. While areas with township-style districts (think 2-4 high schools per school district) were more likely to be responsive to local populations. This also gave towns further out from blue cities (who may have a different political flavor) the flexibility to reopen due to lower Covid rates in smaller populations.
While quite in agreement with "defies common sense" regarding the differential hazards of seniors vs children and also agree with several points related to children's rights, I'm not fully onboard with making a national system of rights. I do think that parents need to ensure their children are educated. Not sure that the current system of public schools are the best way forward given what I see as forced liberalism and the excesses of the unions.
Somewhere I would hope governments would return to promotion of the nominal two parent family as a positive policy. In such a family the value of children can be better maintained. And involvement of community elders might help both children and the seniors as supplements in education and support for single parent households. We could develop better systems.
I am happy that NM has a school funding system that operates state wide and funds schools via a head count system with extras for low income and disabled students. At least that pretends to level the property tax issue. Sadly, it hasn't moved the needle on improving childhood education. Schools in richer areas attract the best teachers and the unions are OK with that. The fact that parents in the richer areas bought into fear and supported school closures and the unions made things even worse for the poorest who needed that education the most. But what can you expect in a near total blue state? Not clear why fear became a political statement but it was.
I don’t disagree with needing to protect and provide educational opportunity (not based on property tax) and outlawing child marriage (WTF?! Why is that still happen?!).
However, as an involved responsible parent, I hesitate giving government the power ticket. I homeschool my kids because I don’t want my kids exposed to the difficult classroom situations in my community schools, the unhealthy influences of peers who live in drug/sex/alcohol/abusive/negligent homes. That isn’t even getting into the ideological saturation level of everything from math to shop class. What happened to leaving belief systems out of the classroom? Just teach math. Let home life be the source of moral foundations. I don’t want systematic approaches to my child’s personal mental-socio-emotional well being. Also, the educational system is stacked against children that don’t fit in the box. Alternative modes of education are simply not available. What is available is lacking connection to current research (don’t even get me started on language education and current standard style of instruction) and entirely “one size fits all”. Why isn’t it okay for some kids to start pursuing training in various trades along with basic school subjects? What is with the weird perspective that some skilled jobs are to be looked down on? Good gracious… at this rate we will have a generation full of PhDs and not a single to person to fix a car or repair your roof.
At the same time, I see that the public education system is a powerful opportunity and safety net for so many kids! It isn’t fair that that is the best that can be offered to kids who don’t have parents who are privileged or confident enough to home educate or pay for private school/tutoring. I will, every time, give my all to offer my kids the best. But I also want the freedom to chose what is best. More power to a government agency that thinks one way and creates shitty systems is a scary answer. With that comes less freedom for me to chose what is best for my kids and my family. Turns out, not ALL parents are evil, incompetent, selfish, or abusive. Many of us are the very best advocates for our kids. I am tired of the voices from public education and powers that be subtly, or overtly, saying that I am the enemy of my kids.
I don’t oppose the laws because kids shouldn’t have rights. I oppose the laws because of unintended consequences, particularly in the current super-polarized cultural setting, some of which I have already experienced. I don’t trust them because it has felt like, for years, they paint ME as the enemy based on stereotypes. I want to help kids in need without my family being punished and harmed. How do we do that? How do we pass the protective legislation without stealing the rights of good parents to raise their children?
Tremendous piece. Bravo to Sensible Medicine for posting it, even though the subject might seem tangential to medical issues.
Have so often discussed the appalling public education systems so many US children and parents are forced to accept. And have so often heard people quickly and assuredly say that the answer is private schooling.
But that's not a good answer.
Actually, many parents who can afford private schools simply bypass public systems automatically. The thought never enters their minds.
And many people who begin to consider private schools for their kids simply forget about it after a little research on costs.
Case in point: My parents really scrimped to send me to a highly regarded private school, where tuition was $2,000 in 1970. Same school now charges annual tuition of over $40'000 for grades 6-12. (Kindergarden to 5th grade is at $35'000. Plus extra charges for extended day care.)
Incidentally, it's not the most expensive school in its category, by a long chalk. Some are at the $60'000 mark, and rising. If you've never searched 'top-rated private schools', do so. It's an eye-opener. Click on a few. The facilities, campuses, and curriculums of some of them are so far removed from typical public school fare that it could make you gnash your teeth.
For a country that for so long has prided itself as being the land of opportunity, and the guardian of equal opportunity, this is a sorry show indeed. And it's been running for many decades, many generations.
As you point out, the key remedial measure would be a clearly defined positive right to high-quality education for all children. Coupled with measures seeing that public school budgets and infrastructures are adequate to the task.
Alas, after the school debacles of the past two years, doesn't look like any remedial steps are in the works. Thus the US class divide, which already looks intolerable, is probably destined to get even worse.
PS: When my parent's insisted on sending me to a private high school years ago, it wasn't because the public schools in my city were inadequate. On the contrary, they were excellent. The 'problem' was I was rock music crazy, rebellious, and they were worried I'd fall in with the wrong crowd. As a parent years later, I finally understood their concerns.
Oh you've done it now. You're expressed support of public schools. That's anathema to many of the followers on this page. They've been dramatically underfunding public schools for decades, and now making things even worse by siphoning off the meager state budgets and giving the money to "charter schools" with no teaching standards and religious indoctrination. Unless you're going to support taking taxpayer money and giving it to homeschooled kids and religious schools, you're considered a socialist. Oh, and you didn't mention the horrors of CRT and gender identification, two talking points for those that don't understand either one. Pro-child policies are more important than mask requirements and dealing with antivaxxers; they need to provide enough support to actually educate children to the point that they don't end up as conspiracy theorists on Substack.
“Negative” rights are central to the American Constitutional structure and our conception of inherent rights vs. rights allowed of citizens by their government.
This all sounds like more intervention by experts who know what is better for children than their own parents. That doesn’t seem to have been working very well in almost every venue.
Interestingly no mention about protecting our children from gender reassignment “treatments” including hormonal, surgical and psychological abuse.
The best thing for kids would be to change child labor laws so kids could go to work at a younger age.
Let’s end extended adolescence.
Then maybe we can have more adults making decisions in our world.